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El Norte [Blu-ray]

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez, David Villalpando, Ernesto Gómez Cruz, Alicia del Lago, Mike Gomez
  • Directors: Gregory Nava
  • Writers: Gregory Nava, Anna Thomas
  • Producers: Anna Thomas, Bertha Navarro, Trevor Black
  • Format: Color, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Jan. 20 2009
  • Run Time: 141 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B001ILTUK6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #55,125 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Brother and sister Enrique and Rosa flee persecution at home in Guatemala and journey north, through Mexico and on to the United States, with the dream of starting a new life. It’s a story that happens every day, but until Gregory Nava’s groundbreaking El Norte (The North), the personal travails of immigrants crossing the border to America had never been shown in the movies with such urgent humanism. A work of social realism imbued with dreamlike imagery, El Norte is a lovingly rendered, heartbreaking story of hope and survival, which critic Roger Ebert called “a Grapes of Wrath for our time.”

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An amazing , powerful and heart wrenching story. The power of the story has not faded since the year this was released. WOW!
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Format: Blu-ray
El Norte (1983)
Drama, Adventure, 141 minutes, Spanish, Maya and English Language
Directed by Gregory Nava
Starring David Villalpando and Zaide Silvia Gutierrez

It's rare for a foreign language film to receive any Oscar nominations outside of Best Foreign Film, but El Norte was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. The Story is powerful and sometimes hard to watch. It tells the tale of a Guatemalan brother and sister who are in danger of being killed by their own military every day. All they want to do is live.

This is one type of film I like to watch because it gives me a different perspective on life. I am British and I live in Canada. I have never been particularly poor and have certainly never been homeless or in danger of being murdered. Many of my friends are American and have a similar lifestyle to mine. It's very easy to complain about illegal immigration. I have been going through that process myself and will finally be sworn in as a Canadian eight days from now. But I have money and the opportunity to qualify legally by working and going to college to obtain the required points. Imagine for a moment that you have almost no money and cannot legally enter another country. What would you do? What if your own life was in danger on a daily basis?

This is the situation that Enrique (Villalpando) and Rosa (Gutierrez) find themselves in after their parents are murdered. They take what money they have and decide to try to escape to el norte (the north). They plan to cross the border from Guatemala into Mexico and then on to the United States. Yes, it's illegal, but these are not bad people. They are young siblings simply trying to find a way to survive. They are not afraid to work and pay their way, but they need the opportunity.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa4b8f3a8) out of 5 stars 157 reviews
62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4c93cf0) out of 5 stars Much Better Than Survival Shows Aug. 25 2002
By MaryAnn Gorka - Published on Amazon.com
I purchased a copy of this film in the 80's. It is one of the most powerful statements about the kinds of things which were happening in Central America during a time when most Americans lived in belief of their government's lies. It also is a most powerful statement about family and the strength one draws from that connection. The real problems in adjusting to a different culture without losing those values with which one has been raised is also a theme of this movie. I still rank it as one of the best movies I have ever seen. I would like a copy again as mine disappeared to one of the people to whom I lent it. If it becomes available in either DVD or VHS I would certainly recommend the purchase and I would be first in line. El Norte.....que magnifico!!!!!!!
64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
By Milton Lopez - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I have never seen a better movie than this one, I will never see another movie like this one.
It is a "masterpiece", it is the only movie that is based on the reality of the world (filmed in Guatemala, Mexico and United States) not only it showed the life of the 80's (the massacres of people by the governments of our countries) and it also tells how and why most of us came to this country "The North" seeking not only refugee but also a new life after being abused and tortured by the law enforcement of the Central American governments. This is the case of a brother and sister who's father is decapitated and tortured by the Guatemalan soldiers just because they don't agree with the way rich people treated their countrymen. THE BEST MOVIE EVER !... Subtitled both English/Español and Español/English. A must have, a must see.
55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5c4e984) out of 5 stars Illegal immigrants in the Promised Land. Eye opening! April 16 2004
By Linda Linguvic - Published on Amazon.com
El Norte depicts the plight of a brother and sister. They are Mayan Indians living in Guatemala but after their father is murdered in a rebellion and their mother is arrested, they have to flee their country to save their lives. They are headed north, through Mexico and then on the United States, which, like so many immigrants before them, seems like the Promised Land of electricity, flush toilets and big cars.

First they have to travel through Mexico and make believe they are Mexicans. When they finally get to Tijuana they have the difficult task of finding a way across the border without being robbed by the many unsavory characters who all compete for their small amount of money. Their first attempt ends in failure but eventually they make it by crawling on their hands and knees through a sewer pipe where they are attacked by rats. Once in Los Angeles their lives seem to improve, but they soon discover the reality of being illegal. This is not a happy story and the ending is sad and left me with a feeling of hopelessness.

One of the most striking things about the film is its innocence. It certainly was filmed on a shoestring budget and has none of the special effects we've come to expect in Hollywood films. Sometimes it had the look and feel of an amateur production, the violence looked staged, the camera often focusing on a full moon rather than or more complex shots. The acting, however, was so good that I forgot they were acting and soon was completely involved in this very human story. It was plain and simple real life. And there was humor here too, especially when the young woman gets a maid's job and has to learn to use a washing machine. However, like real life, things don't always work out for the best.

I guess I've always been aware of the plight of illegal immigrants. But I have never felt it more deeply than through this film. Highly recommended.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4814684) out of 5 stars An important educational film April 3 2005
By P. H. Duran - Published on Amazon.com
The value of this film by director Gregory Nava does not diminish with time. I have shown it to audiences several times, and I continue to recommend it. It is not entertainment; rather it can give the engaged viewer an important educational experience about the reality of life for many Indigenous people who are forced to flee their homelands. It portrays the life of an Mayan brother and sister who are forced to leave Guatemala, their homeland, in search of survival in "El Norte." But they discover that the U.S.-Mexico border is a virtual war zone. The film ends in the tragedy that represents the reality of life for many Native people, whose status as "illegal aliens" is less than the humanity that they deserve.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5b361c8) out of 5 stars Impatiently waiting May 6 2004
By Evelyn Diaz - Published on Amazon.com
This movie is by far one of the most well written stories about the struggles of Central American people. I am Guatemalen, so I can truly relate to this story. I've yet to watch this movie with out crying at the end. The movie captures the essence and the culture of Guatemalen people. The culture is one of very tight-nit families with old fashion values. Although this movie takes place in the 80's and a lot has changed in Guatemala since then, I can tell you for a fact that the people have not. I've gone to Guatemala many times, most recently a month ago. It would truly be paradise if it were not for the immense poverty level. I was born here in the United States, but I know the struggles my parents went thru when the came at the age of 19. Please release this movie on DVD! I do have it on VHS (and I guard it with my life) but unfortunately there is also static at the beginning. If you have not watched this movie, make sure that you do.