Thursday, July 28, 2011

El Norte: The Criterion Collection DVD

El Norte: The Criterion Collection
My Rating: 5/5
"El Norte" is one of the most scarring, deep, and harrowing movies I have seen. The film was directed by Gregory Nava [...] and wrote the screenplay for [...]. It received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. This movie was made in response to the large scale extermination and discrimination of the indigenous people in Guatemala which forced many of them into a large scale exiled to the North.

The movie covers the plight of two young indigenous siblings (Zaide Silvia GutiƩrrez and David Villalpando) who must escape their native Guatemala because of persecution against the indigenous people. Their father was murdered, the mother "disappears" and soldiers round up various people in their village, all because they wanted to form a labor union. Fearing for their lives, the two young siblings decide to go North.

Throughout the film we see the hard journey as they travel from Guatemala to the United States. They encounter poverty, blatant racism, discrimination, illness and death.

The movie employs the surroundings as another character, showcasing the beautiful coffee fields of Guatemala in contrast with poverty-stricken Tijuana, Mexico and the arid California town where the poor and rich live in visibly divided class lines. The film also uses magical realism, a widely used and important literary mechanism [...], to show the influences of culture. Foreboding is also part of this film, as it comes full circle with repeated lines and images.

The film is nothing less than masterful and I equal how I felt when I was done watching it as the same devastating, catatonic, unable-to-cry-cause-I-am-in-shock-feeling from when I saw [...].

It is one of the best and most realistic movies I have seen. There is a scene with rats when the siblings are crossing the US border. The actress, Zaide Silvia Gutierrez, insisted that she would do the scene herself with the rats. Nevermind that she had a phobia of rats. Such is the commitment of the writers (Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas), actors and director to this movie. It was something they believed in. It was a movie that is nothing less than excellent. 

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