Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New (or so) Immigration narratives at Cine las Américas

The 11th Cine Las Américas International Film Festival is opening tomorrow in Austin, Texas, and, as part of its each-year-growing program, this time it includes several films and documentaries centered on immigration issues.

While some of them feature the typical Undocumented-immigrant-faces-tragedy- as-he-pursues-the-American-Dream plot, many of them bring refreshing narratives to a debate--the immigration one in America, that is--that is so in need to be depolarized.

These are some of these movies, with synopsis taken from the Festival's website. If you'd like to know this year's Festival full program, you can click here.

3 Américas, directed by Cristina Kotz Cornejo
With summer approaching, 16 year-old América has two issues – or so she thinks. She hates school and Joey, her aunt Carolina’s alcoholic husband. She passes her days shoplifting, hanging out with her friends and trying to avoid Joey. But after a life-changing event, América, who speaks little Spanish, is sent from her home in Boston to Buenos Aires to live with her reclusive and anti-American grandmother. América struggles to find her place in Argentina with a grandmother she has never known and to hold onto a friendship with Sergio, a neighbor twice her age.

Mexican Dream, directed by David Michan
This is the story of Juan Pérez, a man seeking the American Dream. When Juan tries to cross the border into Arizona, he is attacked and seriously wounded by a group of Minutemen. Years later, he is working as a night guard in an underground parking lot, hoping to return to his home in Guerrero to see his family – but he is constantly tormented by memories of his past and a series of strange events that will make him realize that his life is a nightmare.

The Other Side, directed by Bill Brown
The Other Side is a 2000 mile documentary road trip along the US-Mexico border, which filmmaker Bill Brown considers as the historical and political geography of aspiration, insecurity, and transition. He talks to undocumented immigrants who have risked their lives to cross over, and to border activists whose politics have put them at odds with the guardians of homeland security.

American Dream, directed by James Bustamante
How far will someone go for the American dream? Seven years ago Javier Garcia and his wife Victoria came to the US in search of a better life for their unborn child. Since then, Javier has managed to find success in the workplace and has created a solid home for his family. However, when Javier’s loyalty to his native country is called into question, he faces a dilemma. Which side will he end up on?

Mexiphobia trailer

Mexiphobia, directed by Nevie Owens
In the name of national security, the historic Mexican border-crossings of Boquillas, Santa Elena, and Paso Lajitas were closed, devastating the communal bonds that had existed on both sides of the Rio Grande for generations. These aggressive policies contrast sharply with those implemented to secure the United States’ northern border. Would this be the case if Canada were our neighbor to the south?

Camión de carga / Cargo Truck, directed by Juan Sebastián Jacome
Upon learning of her terminal illness, single-mother Anabel decides to keep the diagnosis a secret from her family. She instead embarks on the dangerous and inhumane trip from Central America to the United States, where she hopes her only son will have a stable future.

American Girls, directed by Jarratt Taylor
Sisters Bianca and Lorena were just ten and eleven years old when they made the dangerous trip across the US-Mexico border. They settled in Oregon with their mother so they could have everything that she did not: a life beyond marriage, better education, more career choices. Now, as they approach high school graduation, they have important decisions to make. But in the turbulent US sociopolitical climate, amid strong opinions about immigration and “illegal aliens,” will it even be possible for the girls to realize the potential that lies within them?

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