Books and Movies Reviews

Film Review: El Norte

"El Norte" was written and directed by Gregory Nava in 1983.The film exams the hardships involved in peasant life in Guatemala as well thedifficulty in escaping these hardships in the United States.It centers primarily on Enrique and Rosa Xuncax whose father and mother were both killed by the military junta in Guatemala.Their father, Arturo, was part of a small, revolutionary group of farmers that wanted to rise against the elites taking their land and exploiting them for their "pair of arms."Rosa and Enrique flee Guatemala soon after Arturo's murder and go to America where they find their situation to ultimately be very similar to the oppression in Guatemala.
The two most prominent settings used are the Xuncax's Guatemalan village and home, and Rosa and Enrique's small shack in the United States.Both of these settings are significant politically and socially.The socio-political situation of the peasants in the Guatemalan is very bleak.They are without any political influence and so can in no way change their bottom-rung social status without violence.Arturo explains to Enrique early in the movie that sometimes "you must fight for your land."The predicament of Arturo and his cohorts in the village forces them to try and organize and uprising.The desperation of the farmers illustrates to the viewer the adversity that they faced.In the United States setting the situation did not seem to improve.Enrique and Rosa, being illegal immigrants, could not vote and thus had no bearing at all on the politics shaping their lives.Just as in Guatemala their lack of political power gave no way to escape their impoverished social status.Rosa's envious expression while watching two "gringos" leave in a new Mercedes illustrates the fact that she and Enrique can never truly attain all the wealth they wanted.They are so far from that goal that it is essentially u…

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