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South of the border

As the immigration debate continues to rage unresolved in Congress and in border towns across the southern United States, the question of cultural diffusion has taken a back seat to pragmatic concerns about the economy and blanket statements about the "American Way."

For Jesse Lerner, a filmmaker who has been swimming around the interstices of Mexican and American culture for years, there are at least as many ways to be Mexican as there are to be American. His work, often featuring edgy Mexican poetry and literature, focuses on the cultural landscape that has transformed Mexico over the past century into the massive, dynamic, misunderstood country that it is today.

In a visit to Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center at 8 p.m. Saturday, Lerner will present three films. The longest, "Ruins," ranks as his most critically acclaimed. A faux-documentary, the film focuses on the supposed forgery of Mesoamerican archaeological objects, which are then extracted from their environments and whisked away to art museums, where they take on completely new meanings. The other two films, "T.S.H." and "Magnavoz," are short works that explore works of Mexican literature and poetry. For more information, visit hallwalls.org or call 854-1694.

-- Colin Dabkowski

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