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Farmingville

Catherine Tambini , Carlos Sandoval    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

Price: CDN$ 167.14
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic effort, but a bit uneven... Nov. 10 2004
By Lee Di George - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is turly a story that needs to be told, no matter the consequences. However, due to the political idealologies, the message comes across in a somewhat partisan fashion.

Granted, the issue of illegal aliens has surfaced in a huge way, and although I wholeheartedly agree wit the message Sandoval is sending, I see a few issues with the film.

Truly, a documentary is nearly impossible to create without the director feeling strongly one way or the other. For instance, after the vote to overturn the veto in regards to the creation of a hiring hall is denied, the movie shows the SQL (the grassroots group looking to deport these aliens) singing a bonechilling version of "God Bless America"

Although powerful, these scenes really cut through the audience and leaves an indelible mark.

If you're expecting a documentary that truly slices the issue down the middle, move elsewhere. However, if you're looking for a movie that captures the element of evil and exacerbates it into the SQL, the moving is incredible powerful.

Even though this review sounds somewhat critical, the movie itself should be seen by all, just for the worldly knowledge of life outside of your hometown. I still recommend it.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History repeating itself Jan. 6 2005
By J. M. Wolski - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I'm still reeling from the first review on this page and how utterly ignorant it is. I do not find this documentary very misleading, considering the fact that it takes time to interview and show individuals from both sides to let them say what they think. The interviews with the woman in charge of the SQL (Sachem Quality of Life is what I believe it stands for) are not edited to manipulate her words, and some of her points are indeed valid. But, alas, in my opinion most are not. After watching this film multiple times I have found that different people will see one side or the other in this debate as being right based on their own personal beliefs. This is human nature, and it's something we have to learn to quit denying so vehemently. We only know what we have been taught.

I was raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan which I hate to say is a fairly racist community. Even more saddening is the fact that most of the people I grew up with which were racist had nothing tangible to back up their accusations, since there was no ethnic population of any kind (other than Native American, which co-existed fairly peacefully) to base their statements on. I think much of the same naive, ignorant sentiment is displayed in this film, and the directors do a very good job of letting the footage speak for itself. We fear change as a species, and change is what the people of Farmingville are afraid of as well.

One of the best points made in the film is that over the course of American history this kind of behavior is not uncommon or undocumented. Irish, Italian, and other races (which were then minorities and immigrants) experienced the same kind of persecution over a hundred years ago while trying to obtain jobs here in America. Just because the times have changed does not mean that human beings as a whole have evolved beyond our petty perceptions of others or our ability to believe that whatever race is dominant should be able to stay so at all costs. America is a melting pot and this film, to me, really shows people that want to stay out of the proverbial stew. While some may not agree with me on this, this is what I perceived and anyone who disagrees with me is certainly entitled to. But please make sure and reflect while you disagree, because that in itself is what makes this film so great. You might find out some things about the way you perceive others.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent March 25 2005
By A. L Vanderland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I go to school on Long Island and I saw this documentarye at an event on my campus. I think it's very fascinating and does a wonderful job of exploring both sides of the issue. I had a chance to see the filmmakers speak and they are both incredibly intelligent; it shows in the film. Highly recommend for anyone that wants to learn about an issue that is still explosive now in the 21st century.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ** ** Balanced ... and Sad ** ** May 26 2005
By Fabulinus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Great documentary that is balanced on both sides of the Illegal Immigration debate. You get to see how tough being an Illegal Immigrant is in a strange land when you are just trying to feed yourself and your family. On the other hand, you get to see how a mass influx of people from a different culture suddenly and drastically changes your environment. My feelings on Illegal Immigration are mixed, but at the end of the day I always come back to my moral and Christian teachings.

Good documentary that is fair, gives you both sides of the issue and might make you think critically about this complex issue instead of just seeing it as black and white or 1 dimensional. Highly recommended.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be viewed by all - citizen and immigrant alike March 9 2006
By Vato-Curandero - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Farmingville is documentary film making at its finest. However, people's reactions to this film will largely be based on their political opinions regarding the issues the film addresses - illegal immigration, cultural and linguistic diversity. The directors present an account of life in Farmingville, a Long Island suburban community that saw a dramatic influx of legal and illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America during the 1990s. The demographic and cultural changes that accompany this transition lead to community turmoil and conflict, as a large segment of white Farmingville yearns for the "good old days." Soon, an immigration control group calling itself "Sachem Quality of Life" springs up, and the community becomes the center of an ugly debate over immigration and race following an incident in which two white thugs attempt to murder two Mexican day laborers in 2000.

The film makers step back and avoid injecting narration into this film. Instead, they provide footage gathered from over a year of filming in Farmingville and allow the viewer to see the events unfold. One of the things I find most ironic about the reviews of this film is that some people claim that the directors intended to paint white Farmingville residents as simple-minded racists. This is most bizarre, since the film points out the sharp divisions in opinion among the town's white residents over 1) the nature of the immigration problem, 2) the solution to the problem, and 3) the sense of threat that residents feel in the midst of large numbers of Mexicans and Central Americans.

Some scenes do depict white residens issuing blatantly racist comments (such as an anti-day laborer rally in which a middle-aged white male in a baseball cap screams, "If Mexico wants a war, we should bomb them back to the stone age!"). However, remember that these events REALLY happened, and these statements were issued by REAL members of the Farmingville community. The directors are just presenting what happened.

It is also quite ironic considering the ethnic backgrounds of the white Farmingville residents who bark loudest against the Mexican and Central American day laborers. Judging by the names, Farmingville's population largely consists of Euro-Americans of Italian, Jewish, Polish, and Irish ancestry. What struck me most about Farmingville is how the nativist anti-foreign backlash has now come full circle; a century ago Southern and Eastern Europeans were seen as a cultural, social, and linguistic threat to Anglo-Saxon America. Italians, Jews, and Poles were regarded as unassimilable hordes and "inferior races" who took jobs from Americans, refused to learn the language, and were disintegrating society. Large numbers of Italians arrived illegally in America, as the derogatory anti-Italian slur "wop" (short for 'without papers') attests. Yet today, these immigrants are now considered role models. Instead, it is the children and grandchildren of these turn of the century immigrants that now foster and foment these very same fears that were uttered against their grandparents not so long ago.

Farmingville does an excellent job portraying various sides of these issues, and it is sure to stir the emotions of the viewer (regardless of their personal political persuation).

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