‘Son of Monarchs is a Mexican-American film that explores the past and present of biologist Mendel as Tenoch Huerta. When Mendel returns to his native Mexico for his grandmother’s funeral, he is confronted with the difficulties of his childhood and the complex immigration identity. With a stunning appearance and a deep sense of humor, the bilingual film (Spanish and English) explores Mendel’s landscape – from New York City to the butterfly forests of Michoacán monarch around his small town – influencing his view of himself and the world.
The Gambis Guide explores relevant concepts such as human nature relationships, cultural identity, scientific exploration, climate change, and self-discovery. Your powerful visual dialogue and sad narrative truly reflect the aspirations and struggles of immigrants. Naturally, there are many who wonder if the film lends itself to reality.
Is Son of Monarchs a Real Story?
The ‘Son of Monarchs’ is partly based on a real story. It comes from the experience – scientific, artistic, social, and personal – of Gambis. Molecular biologist and filmmaker, Gambis is the founder of the Imagine Science Film Festival and the Labocine broadcast platform that brings together scientists and artists. He is also a prominent figure in the Science New Wave movement in cinema.
Determined to combine science and film and determined to change the old ideas of solid and isolated scientists, Gambis deliberately blurs the lines of anti-scientific and artistic elements created by society in his works. ‘Son of Monarchs’ is the product of this school of thought. “I became interested in film through the microscope and my work in the laboratory. But in this case, what I find interesting when I make films is to integrate scientific research into not only the personal interests but also the broader, social and political issues and cultures, ”said Gambis.
Gambis explained that film lends itself to his journey as a scientist and laboratory knowledge as a place where he can discover who he is. In fact, he approached the film as a research project, trying to find his identity through cinematic methods. The director, who is French-Venezuelan, submits to his application his own views on mixed ownership. He had a film story in mind for years. Initially, Gambis made three short films about monarch butterflies. It took some time before he was able to raise funds to produce the ‘Son of Monarchs.’
The film paints a parallel between scientific experimentation and self-discovery. It explores how immigration issues, cultural identity, and community building are closely linked to the natural environment and human perception of its many facets. The themes in ‘Son of the Kings’ are accompanied by Huerta as Mendel who, in turn, informs Gambis ’take ownership of immigration and the desire to break free from the representation of superstitious and racist Mexican people. In addition, Huerta speaks publicly about racism and xenophobia.
It is easy to see how Gambis’ research on fruit flies in his college days laid the foundation for Mendel’s fictional research on monarch butterflies. The monarch butterfly was chosen by the director because of its endangered nature, deep connections with Mexican culture and lands, as well as its connectivity and transformation.
“Son of Monarchs.” The monarch butterflies studied by Mendel migrate from the north (Canada and the US) to the south (Mexico) during the winter. Suffering from the grief of losing his grandmother and rediscovering the cultural roots of his academic aspirations, he is confronted with the reality of his move from the south (Angangueo, Michoacán) to the north (New York City).
The film’s elaborate laboratory scenes follow closely the real work of scientists, while the visuals of outsiders capture their hopes, inspiration, and trauma. The story of Mendel and the characters around him may well be legends, but they are all products of real-life events and people.
For example, the place where Mendel uses ommochrome, the bright color found on the butterfly’s wings, to mark the body of his skin is inspired by a real-life conversation Gambis had with his friend and fellow scientist, Bob Reed (based on Bob’s film). When Gambis was asked about the crazy thing he could think of to do, Mhlanga quickly replied that he wished to inject a butterfly color on his skin.
“Son of Monarchs.” Finally, Gambis uses his film to highlight the endangered status of monarch butterflies and the complexity of immigration ownership. By combining themes that most can combine brainwashing, Gambis identifies people, cultures, and geographical connections.
‘Through the Son of Monarchs,’ a biologist who has become a director makes scientists human beings and transforms their cold, clean, and independent labs into sites for scientific discovery based on personal, artistic, and cultural facts based on the natural world. “Son of Monarchs.”
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