Hurray for the Riff Raff’s “Pa’lante” – the fervent call to arms for working class Latinx that was lauded as one of the year’s best songs by Pitchfork, NPR Music, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, The Guardian + more – serves as the powerful musical force behind a new short film directed by Kris Merc (De La Soul, Hannibal Burress). Shot in Puerto Rico earlier this year, alongside Alynda’s hometown in New York, “Pa’lante” offers an intimate, first-hand glimpse of life after Hurricane Maria via the journey of single mother Milagros (played by Mela Murder of the acclaimed film The Florida Project) and her family – a living testament not only to the everyday struggle after the storm displaced thousands last year, but also the strength, beauty, and identity of an island that embodies the phrase (“forward”) as its national philosophy.
Shooting on location struck close to home for everyone on set, many of whom are of Puerto Rican descent. Hurray’s own Alynda Segarra is shown alongside images of her father and overlaid with archival footage of civil rights activist group the Young Lords. Member and founder of the Nuyorican Movement, Pedro Pietri, is also shown reciting his poem “Puerto Rican Obituary” - the epic work that would come to serve as inspiration for the song almost 50 years after it was first published.
For the director Kristian, this was a very personal video as his family was displaced by Hurricane Maria and his grandfather passed in its aftermath: “We really wanted to showcase talent of color, stories by people of color - it was important to me to make sure this was a diverse production that had Puerto Ricans working on it. The conditions on the island are still very poor. During the production we could all feel how painful it all was, how it’s been so long without enough help. The island is still strong, the people always positive, but you can’t help but feel the desperation and pain of the colonial condition, the sense of abandonment. Pa’lante is a very Puerto Rican mindset – be it a family struggling to stay together, or recovering from the hurricane, the Puerto Rican people are strong and they will always stand and move forward. And there is a beauty to that.”
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You can read about how Nick was inspired for the video here: http://directorsnotes.com/2018/03/28/nick-roney-miss-smith/
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