Cucalorus 24 Review: “This Taco Truck Kills Fascists”



Still from This Taco Truck Kills Fascists

Veronica Wernicke, Opinion Editor

Cucalorus 24 was full of shorts, films, stage and connect events that gave artists a chance to speak their minds and let their art be seen and heard by the community.

The film “This Taco Truck Kills Fascists” was just one of those events. The title is what initially drew my curiosity and intrigue for wanting to see what this film was about and what its title meant.

“This Taco Truck Kills Fascists” was produced and directed by Durham filmmaker Rodrigo Dorfman and the documentary is just as interesting as the title makes it seem. For one year, Dorfman followed around New Orleans performance activist Jose Torres-Tama and his taco truck theater.

One of the performers on his taco truck theater said it is not a theater project. Instead, it is a living ensemble; it is more than just performance art.  

Torres-Tama’s message is simple: “No guacamole for immigrant haters.”

Through his documentary, Dorfman helps share the story of Torres-Tama’s raising his two sons — and wanting the world — to become more socially and politically conscious in the wake of Donald Trump as President. Through the hour-long documentary, we see a narrative of minorities — people of color — challenging the anti-immigrant movement through marches and performance art on the streets of New Orleans.

No human is illegal. This message comes across several different times in the documentary whether it be Torres-Tama’s sons chanting it or holding up posters with that very phrase during marches.

Not only is this film about challenging anti-immigrant movement, but it is also a story about a man trying to raise his two young sons. There are so many precious and tender moments between father and sons, whether it be Torres-Tama’s embracing his sons and telling them how much he loves them or when Torres-Tama’s shares the hidden history with his sons at the various monuments in New Orleans.     

An interesting point that stood out to me was the conversation and idea of you love their food but hate them. So, you might eat taco’s every Tuesday and say you love Mexican food, but then you call for stricter immigration laws. It doesn’t make sense.

If you have the opportunity to watch “This Taco Truck Kills Fascists,” I highly recommend doing so. It was funny, beautiful, raw, very thought provoking and relevant film that helps start the very conversation both Dorfman and Torres-Tama want you to start having.

Following the documentary’s east coast premiere, Dorfman took time to answer audience questions and further discuss his film.

“I originally wanted to be on the truck that’s why I did it,” said Dorfman. “I’ve known Jose for about 20 years and I heard about this [taco truck theater] for past five or six. Okay taco truck theater, project, okay I’m gonna do it. We were supposed to go to Tulsa, Oklahoma and the film was going to be our road trip and we were just going to do pirate interventions in Walmart parking lots.”

But the project became so much more after Dorfman started hanging around and becoming friends with Torres-Tama’s children.

“I grew up Chili during the Chilean Revolution. So as a child I grew up in a revolutionary situation and heavily conscious and heavily discussing the existence of God and I thought Santa Clause was Papa Marx. I was also able to enjoy life as a kid and enjoy the traditions of pop culture,” said Dorfman. “For me when I saw the children [Torres-Tama’s children] and I was hearing [the songs and chants they said] the slogans that came from Chilian Revolution and that precise historical moment and thinking wow I’m watching the reproduction [of revolution].”   

One thing in particular that stood out to me during Dorfman’s discussion was his curiosity with “woke-ness.” He mentioned how there is “the talk” with African Americans, but he questioned where “the talk” is for White Euro kids in middle-class families and is it possible? He also added that through Torres-Tama’s children who are a mixed  –Hispanic, Irish and German are a few mentioned in the film — he noticed that is can be possible to have a similar sort of “talk.”

Ultimately, Dorfman noticed how personal of a film this was for him, he did spend a year filming the family and course he already did have a friendship with Torres-Tama’s beforehand. Through his film, we get an inside look at parenting as a revolutionary artist.

If you get the chance to watch This Taco Truck Kills Fascists or even see the taco truck theater I highly recommend it. It is a great insight into the life of a minority and will definitely get you thinking and talking.   

Also, those in New Orleans can also thank Torres-Tama for suing the city and getting the city to finally allow the street artist to have speakers on the street. That is how passionate of man he is.