30 minutes, 1983, aired on PBS
English & Spanish soundtracks
Take an ordinary Detroit car, customize it inside and out, and lower it to the ground. What do you have? It is a lowrider, the focus of a Mexican-American social scene that includes cruising on weekend nights, car shows, and hopping contests. The car is driven slowly, the better to be appreciated. It is art. Not museum art, but street art, living art, folk art. To the outside world it is somehow connected with gangs and crime, but to the Mexican American community it is a source of pride; a way of preserving culture and identity. Low ‘N Slow, the Art of Lowriding, explores the complex cultural role that custom cars play in the Mexican-American community.
“Lowriding is more than just an automobile fetish; it's a vivid expression of Chicano culture and pride. Fantastically painted cars are equipped with hydraulic pumps so that they can travel close to the ground for low 'n slow cruising in Chicano communities throughout the Southwest.
In this lively, upbeat, visually opulent tape, Rick Tejada-Flores traces lowriding's roots back to the zoot suit era of the Twenties and beyond to the traditional Latin paseo, or promenade. He interviews some of the many people who constitute the world of lowriding: cholos, car-club members, artists who decorate hoods and mechanics who customize chassis, DJs who broadcast on lowrider radio stations and writers at Low Rider magazine, and parents and clergy who support their lowriding children. They explain how these elaborately painted, customized cars celebrate beauty and Hispanic identity.
For an Anglo culture that emphasizes getting someplace fast, lowriders seem to flout social as well as civil laws... In response to such cultural misunderstandings, Tejada-Flores's tape reveals the ethnic context that makes lowriding a mark of prestige and a sign of manhood in Chicano culture. Low ‘N Slow is as entertaining as it is illuminating
.—Video Classics: A Guide to Video Art and Documentary Tapes
“A raucous tribute to the lowrider lifestyle.”
—San Jose Mercury News
“By concentrating on one subculture the film celebrates them all. To read a bit more into it, Low ‘N Slow could be taken as a slap in the face of those who would close and lock the golden door.”
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