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'El Norte' Classic Crosses to DVD and Blu-Ray Disc

7 Nov, 2008 By: Angelique Flores

The groundbreaking film El Norte is headed for DVD and Blu-ray Disc for the first time in the United States in a deluxe edition.

The Criterion Collection will release the film Jan. 20 (prebook Dec. 23) on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, each at $39.95.

Directed by Gregory Nava (Selena, Mi Familia, Why Do Fools Fall in Love), El Norte follows the story of a brother and sister who escape from persecution at home in Guatemala and head north to the United States through Mexico. The 1984 feature film was the first to present the immigration community in a humane and intimate light, said Criterion producer and producer on the El Norte releases Abbey Lustgarten.

“It was originally funded by PBS’s American Playhouse and successfully crossed over into the mainstream as a box office hit,” she said.

El Norte was nominated for best original screenplay in 1984. In 1995, the film was selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

For 25 years the film has been taught in classrooms across the country and is often one of the top video rentals nationwide, Lustgarten said. El Norte has been much requested for a DVD release, according to Criterion.

Special features on the DVD and Blu-ray Disc are a new, high-definition digital transfer supervised and approved by Nava; new audio commentary from Nava; “In the Service of the Shadows: The Making of El Norte,” a featurette featuring interviews with Nava, producer and co-writer Anna Thomas, actors Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez and David Villalpando, and set designer David Wasco; The Journal of Diego Rodriguez Silva, the 1972 award-winning student film by Nava; a gallery of Chiapas location-scouting photographs; the theatrical trailer; a new and improved English subtitle translation; and a booklet with an essay by novelist Héctor Tobar and Roger Ebert’s 1983 film review.

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