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American Me is a harsh look at the reality of prison and gang life especially within the Chicano community Based on a true story American Me traces the life of a Latino crime lord Santana from his youth growing up in the barrio of East Los Angeles through his rise to power behind the walls of Folso Prison Set against a backdrop of hopelessness and prejudice the movie brutally attempts to portray the continuing cycle of violence inherent within a crime-based life-style In the end Santana is unable to escape that cycle dying violently at the hands of his former gang members while at the same time such violence is given rebirth within the barrioSantana played by Edward James Olmos is in prison and looking back at his life his parents life and discovering what his life has become In the first scene of act one the viewer is taken back in time to the 1940s to a scene where Santanas parents were beaten and raped by sailors in the streets of Los Angeles simply because they were zoot suiters In the mid-to-late 1950s where the young Santana and his buddies JD and Mundo are introduced The three young boys make a pact to stay together and be a part of the long tradition gang of their barrio called La PrimeraFirst the three boys are sentenced to time in juvenile hall for breaking and entering into a store to escape being chased down by another barrio gang In juvenile hall they begin feeling superior to other mates when Santana kills a cellmate who rapes him in the middle of the night Everyone in the prison is proud of Santana and his group Because of the respect that he has earned Santana and his group begin to feel that they run the show around juvenile hall Transferred from juvenile hall into Folsom Federal PrisonAs Folsom Federal Prison is being shown on the screen Santanas voice is
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