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Trump’s Rhetoric Influence on Filmic Images of Mexico:
The Case of Miss Bala (2019)
(pp. 83-98; DOI: 10.23692/iMex.18.6)

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Dr. Erica Berzaghi

Erica Berzaghi works as an associate lecturer in Intercultural Communication and Ethics at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK. Her research interests include cross cultural perspectives on happiness and altruism.



Frank O’Sullivan

Frank O’Sullivan is a third year Film Studies student at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. He currently explores the representation of immigrants in contemporary French cinema.


This article draws on US president Donald Trump’s assertions about Mexican culture and migration from Latin America to explore how far his hegemonic rhetoric has contributed to shaping images of Mexico in Hollywood film production. Informed by Van Dijk’s concept of political discourse and Fairclough’s notion of media discourse, this study proposes a qualitative film analysis to approach the research objective. In particular, it examines continuites and discontinuities in two key films produced during two different republican governments, Bordertown (2006) – produced and disseminated under the Bush administration – and Miss Bala (2019) – made during the Trump administration. Based on their analysis, it is possible to argue that there is a shift towards a more negative portrayal of Mexicans, which is very much in line with the shift in political discourse from former US President George W. Bush to Trump.

Este artículo se basa en las afirmaciones de Trump sobre la cultura mexicana y la migración desde América Latina para explorar hasta qué punto su retórica hegemónica ha contribuido a desarrollar las imágenes de México en la producción cinematográfica de Hollywood. Informado por el concepto de discurso político de Van Dijk y la noción de discurso mediático de Fairclough, este estudio propone un análisis cinematográfico cualitativo para abordar el objetivo de la investigación. En particular, examina continuidades y discontinuidades en dos películas clave producidas durante dos gobiernos republicanos diferentes, Bordertown (2006) – producida y difundida bajo la administración de Bush – y Miss Bala (2019) – realizada durante la administración Trump. Siguiendo su análisis, es posible argumentar que hay un cambio hacia una representación más negativa de los mexicanos, que acompaña el desarrollo del discurso político de George W. Bush a Trump.