This blog is third in a series in which I take a look at four films in our collection which deal with illegal immigration, first and foremost from the perspective of those who undertake the journey, but also from viewpoint of their family, the communities they immigrate to and border patrol officers charged with repelling them from entering the country. Sin Nombre, Which Way Home, Mojados: Through the Night and El Inmigrante are all films that take a look at illegal immigration in greater depth and with a greater diversity of opinions than can be included in the typical media coverage of the debate. If you have a desire to take a closer look at the hows and whys of illegal border crossing, I urge you to check out one or all of these films.
Mojados: Through the Night
After I watched Which Way Home, I looked to see what other films we had on the subject. Mojados tells the story of three would be illegals attempting to cross the river and then the vast expanse of Texan dessert beyond. While they are also from the far South ends of North America, these travelers have at least enough resources to do without the hardship of balancing on top of a rocking train car and simply say good bye to their families before jumping in a taxi and heading north. They are dropped off in a nondescript area along the side of the Rio Grande/ Rio Bravo. Then they hide in the bushes and wait for night fall and it is from that point that all their troubles begin.
At 64 minutes this is not a very lengthy documentary but I think it delivers a sense of what this portion of the journey entails. There is some criticism aimed at Tommy Davis, the director for not doing more to distinguish the characters from one another and for the jiggling hand held camera work. However, of the films described in this blog, it is in my opinion that the director of Mojados has gone through the most pain and effort to bring us the story of his subjects (Though I can’t say that without mentioning the two years of research spent with train travelers on the part of director Cary Fukunga or the time he invested with actual members of the much feared Mara Salvatrucha in preparation for Sin Nombre). Mr. Davis is actually making the journey with his subjects as we witness it. He is climbing the same fences, drinking the same bacteria infested water, eating the same molding tortillas and standing through the same freezing dessert nights afraid to sleep for fear of never seeing the sun again. Also included are interviews and accounts of some ranchers who pity the travelers but are also vexed with the damage done to fences and other effects of their passing.
Again, I don’t want to give away the fate of these travelers, but rest assured, the endings, inconclusive or unhappy, thoroughly illustrate the desperate act of crossing the border and the likely hood of survival.
Mojados: Through the Night