Star Maps

Director: Miguel Arteta
Screenwriters: Miguel Arteta

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Star Maps combines dark humor, melodrama, a hip sound track, and some truly bizarre sexual situations to create a film that sets out to expose Hollywood for what it really is, a city of broken dreams. Carlos, a second-generation Mexican, like so many people in Hollywood, wants to become a famous movie star. When his estranged and corrupt father Pepe offers him a job selling Star Maps, he jumps at the chance, knowing that the business is just a front for prostitution. His hard work pays off when one of his janes, a successful TV actress, offers him a small part on her show.

Through a series of flashbacks to his childhood, Carlos remembers just how cruel his father is and reclaims his self-dignity by exposing Pepe as a creep at the expense of his chance at television stardom. To his credit, in spite of all his escapades, Carlos retains his sweet demeanor. Director Miguel Arteta successfully uses high melodrama to capture the surrealism of this dysfunctional family. Actor Douglas Spain delicately balances Carlos’s commitment to his relatives with the pursuit of his own dreams, a trade-off anyone who ever wanted more will understand.

— Mary Kerr

Screening Details

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