El Norte [Blu-ray]
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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.”
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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