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El Inmigrante reviewed at Cinequest Film Festival


By Fernando F. Croce

On May 13, 2000, Eusebio de Haro, a young Mexican migrant, was shot and killed in Texas during one of his journeys north. The signpost at the beginning of El Inmigrante shows a high number of such occurrences, but this deeply humanitarian story focuses on Haro's death to examine the Mexico-U.S. border crisis with particular scrupulousness.

Eschewing the standard narration device, filmmakers John Sheedy and John Eckenrode allow the subjects of their film to speak for themselves, talking to members of Haro's family as well as friends and acquaintances of Sam Blackwood, who shot the young migrant and was given a light sentence due to his advanced age. From these conversations emerges a mosaic of struggle, prejudice and political problems, with migrant activists, local sheriffs, members of the U.S. Mounted Border Patrol and Mexican workers uneasily occupying the same space.

Even while tackling a hot-button issue, El Inmigrante remains always aware of the human life at its center. Like all great dramas, the film is an inquiry into the truth, picking up enlightening shards of social and economic travails along the way, its purpose succinctly summed up by one of the interviews, "There won't be justice, but maybe there will be consciousness."