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Latinx Representation in Film

Latinx Futurism

What’s next for Latinx cinema?

One emerging trend in Latino literature is beginning to show its influence across the big screen. Latinx Futurism, a literary movement with Science Fiction origins and intimately related to Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurism, is slowly inspiring other visual art and aesthetic mediums. The following essay covers the history and potential influence of Latinx Futurism in cinema.

Michael Menchaca, artist, and Julia Samuels. Mestizo no. 1 Part of La Raza Cósmica 20XX, a suite of 16 screenprints by Michael Menchaca. 2019. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.LC-DIG-ppmsca-78766. Courtesy of the artist.

“Futurity emerges…as imaginaries, of course, but also as technologies, strategies, and tactics. In this way, the futurities of Latinx speculative fictions – and for Latinx’s more broadly – isn’t only an imaginary, but a toolkit for a more just, anti-racist world and a more expansive, inclusive latinidad” — Renee Hudson in “Imagining the Futures of Latinx Speculative Fictions”

Though slippery to define, Latinx Futurism is a descendant of the Italian futurist movement and the many related but differentiated variants it has inspired. The Italian Futurist movement arose in 20th century Italy in reaction to a perceived clash between tradition and industrialization. Futurism´s principles and following would eventually be co-opted by Fascist leaders, who found it useful as this wide-ranging artistic form emphasized celebration of the machine age and its industrial “progress” while rejecting the past. While centering on a future-oriented perspective, Latinx Futurism differs strongly with Italian Futurism on this point. Italian Futurism is dependent upon rejection of what people viewed to be an outdated past in favor of a more urban-oriented vision of the future. Latinx Futurism, which also takes continued inspiration from Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurism, places an emphasis on the creation of a different future in spite of present realities, with a strong interaction with the past (Taylor, 2020, p. 103). The imagined future is open-ended, while operating within a broader framework that centers Latinidad(es). This open-endedness enables Latinx Futurism to take on a variety of artistically expressive forms, centering on the creation of different future imaginings by providing spaces where Latinx people can speak and create their own Latinidad which “recalls the past, explores the diversity of Latinx experiences in the present, and imagines a decolonial future” (Ibid., p. 31). Chicanafuturism offers another critical perspective, and like Latinx Futurism, it functions to challenge the structures that have excluded people from “domain[s] of science, technology, and reason as it reshapes the information age” (Ramírez, 2008, p. 76).

Enmeshed with Science Fiction, Latinx Futurism arose challenging and reimagining perceptions of the future. The movement continues to interact with Science Fiction, often exploring agency and exploration in this light. Today many scholars agree that Latinx Futurism now acts as a continuously evolving “aesthetic and political movement” that operates across a broad spectrum of artistic and socio-political representations (Taylor, 2020, p. 31). Filmmaker and media artist Alex Rivera discusses the crucial critical reflections that Science Fiction permits in his Cine Latine interview, stressing the intentionality in his use of film to imagine futures that seek to be grounded in the present. Like Rivera’s work, Latinx Futurism is not grounded in escapism–Latinx Futurism, Chicanafuturism, Afrofuturism, and Indigenous Futurism all make space and agency for people to generate visions of a future they have been systematically erased from, in which the past is always present (Ibid.).

As a still-evolving and expanding artistic space, Latinx Futurism takes on a variety of different art forms, historically within literature and more recently moving into visual arts and aesthetics. Latinx Futurism offers a differentiated space where filmmakers can draw inspiration from and contribute to. In the Cine Latine Interview Series, Alexis C. Garcia discusses the influence that Afrofuturism had on her film “Daughter of the Sea” (2022). Recent films like “Black Panther” (2018) and the “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018) brought Afrofuturism from the page to the big screen (Bruce, 2020). Drawing inspiration from this tradition, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (2022) offers a glimpse into what a reimagined, empowered Indigenous and Latinx world could look like, as audiences witness the strength of Talokan and Namor’s emergence as the epic anti-hero (Aguilar, 2022). In “Alita: Battle Angel” (2019), Robert Rodriguez’s sci-fi world centers Latinx life and culture across an Americas that actually reflects its Latinx history, languages, architecture, and protagonists (Aldama, 2019). Alex Rivera discussed the potential growth of related movements in the Cine Latine Interview Series, as his work “Sleep Dealer” (2008) has often been cited as a significant contribution to Latinx future imaginings (Cravey et al., 2015 and Marez, 2016). Throughout U.S. Cinematic History, the majority of the innovation and growth of Latinx representation in film is the accomplishment of independent filmmakers, who continue to push the boundaries of the future of film today (Reyes & Rubie, 2000, p. 28).

Latinx Futurism in Films and Literature

Film titles cataloged by the Library of Congress will link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Please note that not all films listed below are part of the Library's collections. To access films part of the Library's moving image collections, please contact the Moving Image Research Center to confirm availability of film titles and the best way to gain access. As collections are stored off-site, advance notice is needed to prepare items.

Latinx Futurism Reads

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional digital content or electronic resources are included when available.

On Latin American Science Fiction

On Latinx Representation in Media


  1. Aguilar, S. (2022, November 14). “Wakanda Forever” Offers An Empowering Indigenous Latinx Future. HipLatina. Retrieved from External
  2. Bruce, D. (2020). Afrofuturism: From the Past to the Living Present. Newsroom. Retrieved from External
  3. Cravey, A., Palis, J., & Valdivia, G. (2015). Imagining the future from the margins: cyborg labor in alex rivera's "sleep dealer". Geojournal, 80(6), 867–880.
  4. Hudson, R. (2019). Imagining the Futures of Latinx Speculative Fictions/ Renee Hudson. ASAP Journal. Retrieved from External
  5. Luis Aldama, F. (2019, February 22). Robert Rodriguez’s Fever-Dream: “Alita” and the Building of Latinx Sci-Fi Worlds. Latinx Spaces | Redefining Latinx Media. Retrieved from External
  6. Marez, C. (2016). Farm worker futurism: speculative technologies of resistance. University of Minnesota Press.
  7. Merla-Watson, C. J., and B. V. Olguín. (2017). Altermundos: Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture. UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press.
  8. Ramírez, C. S. (2004). Deus ex machina: tradition, technology, and the Chicanafuturist art of Marion C. Martinez. AZTLÁN, 29(2), 55–92.
  9. Ramírez, C. S. (2008). Afrofuturism/Chicanafuturism: Fictive Kin. Aztlan: Journal of Chicano Studies, 33(1), 185–194.
  10. Taylor, T. J. (2020). Latinxs unidos: futurism and latinidad in united states latinx hip-hop. Extrapolation, 61(1-2), 31.
  11. Reyes, L., & Rubie, P. (2000). Hispanics in hollywood : a celebration of 100 years in film and television. Lone Eagle Pub.