It was also at this gathering that I was introduced to Lola la trailera.
Played by actress Rosa Gloria Chagoyán, “Lola the Truck Driver” is a super-sexy Mexican woman who inherits a big ol’ truck when her father is killed and she has to get to the bottom of things. In the process, she kicks some major ass and takes names. Seriously, she is a very different Mexican woman on screen than anything I had ever seen before: in a bar-room brawl, right after confirming on a date that “sí, soy trailera (yes, I am a trucker),” she smacks people on the head with a beer bottle instead of running away. These movies all take place on the Mexican-American border – part of a sub-genre of cheaply made, popular Mexican films derogatorily referred to as “cine churro” – and stress a different kind of nationalism than what we generally see from the likes of Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu (which actually Mexicans apparently don’t watch anyway – they do watch a lot of Lola, however). She succeeds in working against against narcotrafficking, foils her gringo nemeses and still looks good in a red mini-dress.
Honestly, I’ve only just been exposed to this myself, but I’m already smitten. One of the first things I did when the workshop ended was order a copy of the film Lola la trailera (1983) for my university so I can show clips for class. (Of her many films, it’s the only one subtitled so far.) What’s amazing is that apparently Lola-the-character has now turns the actress Chagoyán into something of a border activist herself. You’ll have to read more when this essay collection comes out sometime next year hopefully, with this article to be written by my colleague (and former advisor!) Catherine Benamou, who gave a fantastic presentation.
Thanks to YouTube (and some guy who apparently has a serious pantyhose-on-Mexican-women fetish), you can get some glimpses of what the big deal is about. Below are two pieces of what appears to be the same scene from Lola la trailera 3 from 1991; look for “Lola,” the actual truck that Lola drives, in the second clip. The other woman, by the way, is her madrina, or godmother.