Cover Photo: Illustration by Levi Hastings/20th Century Fox
Illustration by Levi Hastings/20th Century Fox

When Popular Films Misrepresent My Country, They Misrepresent Me

When people tell me “I don’t look Colombian,” I’m reminded of how pop culture gets my home country of Colombia wrong—where we are, who we are, and what we can look like.


Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

look sound Narcos Blow, Romancing the StoneProof of Life



I Dream of Jeannie, Mission: Impossible, Bewitched.


Mr. and Mrs. SmithRomancing the Stone, American Made, BlowEmbrace of the Serpent

Matando a Jesus, Contracorriente, X500, La tierra y la sombraNarcosEmbrace of the Serpent

Manuel Betancourt is a film critic and a cultural reporter based in New York City. His academic work on queer film fandom has appeared in Genre and GLQ, while his work of cultural criticism has been featured in The Atlantic, Film Quarterly, Esquire, Pacific Standard, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. He is a regular contributor to Remezcla where he covers Latin American cinema and U.S. Latino media culture, and Electric Literature, where he writes about book-to-film adaptations. He has a Ph.D. but doesn't like to brag about it.