Immigrant, The (DVD Review)4 May, 2009 By: Angelique Flores
Prebook 5/8/09; Street 6/9/09
In Spanish with English subtitles.
I’ve seen many border-crossing immigrant movies, from the classic El Norte and the indie drama La Tragedia de Macario to the documentary Mojados and the more light-hearted La Misma Luna. The Immigrant takes the most complete look at this issue that I’ve ever seen in a film.
The documentary centers on the life and death of illegal Mexican immigrant Eusebio de Hara, who was shot in 2000 by an American couple in a small Texas border town outside Brackettville.
He and a companion were followed down the road and threatened by Sam Blackwood, who ultimately killed Eusebio as the immigrant was fleeing. Sam was found guilty of a misdemeanor and sentenced to two years probation for the heinous crime.
Illegal or not, de Hara was a son, brother, father and friend. Filmmakers went in depth to speak to Eusebio’s family, giving a full portrait of the man he was.
Not to be biased, they also filmed interviews with migrant workers, the sheriff who was a friend of Blackwood and who arrested him, a Brackettville council member, U.S. Border patrol agents, citizens living on both sides of the border, a newspaper editor in Brackettville, and members of such groups as Healing Our Borders and The Minutemen.
The Immigrant will both touch and infuriate viewers, whichever side of the immigrant issue they’re on, as it presents interviews from all angles of the political spectrum — a rarity these days as many documentaries are accused of bias. That lack of bias seems to have caught the attention of news outlets such as Court TV, MSNBC and CNN, which have used footage from the film.
The film won accolades at more than 15 film festivals. The DVD comes chock full of interesting extras: “Narcoleptic Drunken Daydreams,” a featurette covering two stories about the border; a “Just Coffee” featurette about a group who is trying in combat border problems through a coffee company; “The De Haro’s View the Film” featurette; a photo gallery; poster progression gallery; and a brief history of the border.