Claremont, Calif. (January 21, 2022)—Pitzer College Visiting Assistant Professor in Sport and Society Rudy Mondragón appears in a new documentary La Guerra Civil, which premiered online at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20. Directed by Eva Longoria, the film explores the rivalry between boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez. Variety says the documentary is about far more than boxing, delving into “a cultural divide between Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans on both sides of the border.”
In the film, Mondragón discusses the cultural politics surrounding two fights between the Hall of Fame boxers in the 1990s.
“What this film does so well is use boxing as a lens to examine issues of sport and society,” Mondragón said. “In focusing on the 1996 and 1998 fights between Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez, documentary director Eva Longoria tells a powerful story of the complexities of Mexican and Mexican American identity and belonging.”
In a post-screening Q&A, Longoria spoke about putting a “big breath into the topic of identity” by carefully assembling the people—from academics to celebrities—who would tell this story.
“I immediately knew I wanted an academic person to really help me articulate identity issues within our community,” she said. “Rudy Mondragón was amazing because he specializes in boxing.”
An interdisciplinary critical sports and cultural studies scholar, Mondragón’s courses include “You Don’t Play Boxing”: The Racial and Cultural Politics of the Sweet Science; The Black Athlete: History of Race and Athletic Activism; and Latinx Sporting Histories.
Mondragón earned his PhD in Chicana and Chicano Studies at UCLA. His dissertation, Miles Before the Bell: Race, Agency, and Sporting Entitlements in Boxing Ring Entrances, sheds light on the cultural and political implications of pre-fight rituals in boxing. He has been featured in major media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN.
In addition to its premiere on January 20, La Guerra Civil will play online at Sundance on January 22, at 7 a.m. PST. More information is available on the Sundance website.