El Norte


1h 30m 1984
El Norte

Brief Synopsis

The story of two Central American political refugees who flee the coffee fields of Guatemala when their father is killed and their mother is arrested by the military.

Film Details

Also Known As
Norte, North, The, O Norte
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Release Date
1984
Location
Morelos, Mexico; Mexicali, Mexico; Chiapas, Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m

Synopsis

The story of two Central American political refugees who flee the coffee fields of Guatemala when their father is killed and their mother is arrested by the military.

Crew

Sheila Amos

Sound Editor

Arturo Arias

Screenplay

Arturo Arias

Writer (Dialogue)

Mary Armantrout

Script Supervisor

Jose Avila

Song

Gregg Barbanell

Foley

Samuel Barber

Music

Beth Bergeron

Dialogue Editor

Trevor Black

Unit Production Manager

Betsy Blankett

Editor

John Bowey

Dialogue Editor

Pablo Boy

Accountant

Alan Brownstein

Grip

Baird Bryant

Sound Editor

Mark Buckalew

Key Grip

Alfredo Bustos

Makeup

Dwight Campbell

Gaffer

Holly Davis

Assistant Sound Editor

Don Donigi

Liaison

Julia Evershade

Dialogue Editor

Enzo Gagliardi

Song Performer

Robert Gerhard

Assistant Director

Amanda Gill

Assistant Director

Amanda Gill

Post-Production Supervisor

Amanda Gill

Production Manager

Jean Gill

Casting

James Glennon

Director Of Photography

Michael L Glennon

Assistant Camera Operator

John Guidone

Negative Cutting

Timothy Harding

Consultant

Chris Hopkins

Assistant Editor

Jose Alfredo Jiminez

Song

Alan Kappmeier

Aerial Unit

David Kern

Sound Editor

Alexandra Kicenik

Assistant Sound Editor

Chris Lombardi

Assistant Camera Operator

Gustav Mahler

Music

Al Martinez

Assistant Editor

Melecio Martinez

Music

Leonard Meyer

Pilot

Domenico Modugno

Song

Michael C Moore

Sound Design

Bob Morones

Casting

Gregory Nava

Screenplay

Gregory Nava

From Story

Gregory Nava

Photography

Santiago Navarrete

Assistant Camera Operator

Berta Navarro

Unit Production Manager

Barbara Noble

Sound Editor

Linda O'brien

Graphics

Linda O'brien

Researcher

Tony Ogaz

Assistant Director

John Owen

Grip

Ronald Oxley

Animal Trainer

Bob Ozman

Stunt Coordinator

Krzysztof Penderecki

Music

Richard Portman

Sound

Gilbert Prowler

Assistant Camera Operator

Steve Queen

Grip

Alejandro Rangel

Key Grip

Emil Richards

Music

Toni-conchita Rios

Production Coordinator

Toni-conchita Rios

Casting

Robert Romero

Assistant Director

Rosa Perez Romo

Script Supervisor

Keva Rosenfeld

Sound Editor

Tom Salvatore

Color Timer

Lida P Saskova

Music Editor

Teresa Sparks

Assistant Editor

Johann Strauss

Music

Rea Tajiri

Production Assistant

Gerardo Tamez

Song

Anna Thomas

Producer

Anna Thomas

Screenplay

Oscar Gomez Trujillo

Liaison

Ramiro Valencia

Gaffer

Daniel Lemus Valenzuela

Costume Department

William Veal

Pilot

Giuseppe Verdi

Music

Ron Vidor

Camera Operator

David Wasco

On-Set Dresser

David Wasco

Set Designer

Steve B Williams

Pilot

Hilary Wright

Costumes

Hilary Wright

Props

Robert Yerington

Sound

Eraclio Zepeda

Screenplay

Eraclio Zepeda

Writer (Dialogue)

Film Details

Also Known As
Norte, North, The, O Norte
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Release Date
1984
Location
Morelos, Mexico; Mexicali, Mexico; Chiapas, Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m

Articles

El Norte


Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas felt very strongly that their story of indigenous youths who flee Guatemala and make their way to the U.S. should make it to the screen without corporate tampering. In seeking funding for their project, they avoided Hollywood studios, certain that executives would demand changes in their script and/or casting. It took them two years, but they finally secured about half of the financial backing they needed for this low-budget project through PBS's American Playhouse. The remainder came from pre-sales, including a deal with the United Kingdom's Channel 4.

Their efforts to preserve the concept and characters were justified by an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay, the first American independent film to be so recognized. They were also recognized with a nomination by the Writers Guild of America and a Best Film win at the Montreal World Film Festival. In 1995, the film was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." El Norte was first presented at the Telluride Film Festival, screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival in 1984, and is still regularly shown in high school Spanish and geography classes as well as college multiculturalism programs.

The film's origins can be traced back to Nava's experiences in San Diego, California, where he grew up. The child of a Mexican and Basque family, he had relatives who lived just across the border in Tijuana. He often crossed the border in his youth, struck by the stark contrast between the prosperous American city to the north ("el norte") and the cardboard shacks on the other side.

Nava and Thomas met at UCLA, where he directed a short film based on the life of Garcia Lorca, The Journal of Diego Rodriguez Silva, which won the Best Dramatic Film award at the National Student Film Festival. The two married in 1975 and collaborated on two projects: as co-writers (and he as director) on The Confessions of Amans (1976) and as two of several writers on The End of August (1982), but their attention was also focused on research about the plight of indigenous Guatemalans, conducted among those who had taken refuge in Southern California.

"There are hundreds of thousands of refugees from Central America in Los Angeles alone," Nava told the New York Times at the time of the film's release. "Nobody knows the exact number, but a recent television inquiry estimated 300,000-400,000. In our own research, we came across a community of Mayans from Guatemala--5,000 from one village--now in Los Angeles. The original village, which is now dead, had 15,000."

The film was shot in San Diego and Los Angeles and in Chiapas and Tijuana in Mexico. But some scenes of a Mexican village had to be recreated in California after cast and crew were forced out of Mexico.

"We were filming in Mexico during the end of the López Portillo presidency, one of the last of the old-fashioned caciques to rule Mexico," Nava said in an interview with Soledad Santiago in the Santa Fe New Mexican. "One day, men with machine guns took over the set. I had guns pointed at my head. We were forced to shut down production, bribe our way out of the country, fight to get our costumes back, and start shooting again in California. Ironically, in the United States our extras were real Mayan refugees. They were the people the movie was about."

According to a 1996 story about Thomas and Nava by Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times, "Mexican police kidnapped their accountant and held him for ransom, while, at the same time, his parents had to pose as tourists in order to smuggle exposed film out of the country in their suitcases."

The film received rave reviews upon its release. Although he criticized the tragic ending as "arbitrary," Vincent Canby in The New York Times noted: "Mr. Nava does not patronize his 'little people.' This has something to do with the straight, unactorly quality of the performances, especially by Zaide Silvia Gutierrez as Rosa and David Villalpando as Enrique, two splendid Mexican actors."

Ebert had no such reservations about the ending, comparing the film to a classic of times past, "with astonishing visual beauty, with unashamed melodrama, with anger leavened by hope. It is a Grapes of Wrath for our time."

The picture was particularly praised for the way it wove into its realistic story the kind of magic realism usually seen only in literature, particularly novels from South America. The Washington Post reviewer Ann Hornaday, taking a look back at the film after more than 20 years, called El Norte "seminal, both for its graceful blend of classical narrative and magic realism, and the power with which it brought an otherwise invisible world to life."

Nava and Thomas had truly found a singular voice and vision, one which clearly provided the immigrant point of view in a tragic-poetic framework, something that likely would never have been allowed in a major studio-backed production.

Director: Gregory Nava
Producers: Anna Thomas, Trevor Black, Bertha Navarro
Screenplay: Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas
Cinematography: James Glennon
Editing: Betsy Blankett
Music: Los Folkloristas
Cast: Ernesto Gomez Cruz (Arturo), David Villalpando (Enrique), Zaide Silvia Guttierez (Rosa), Alicia del Lago (Lupe), Mike Gomez (Informer)

By Rob Nixon
El Norte

El Norte

Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas felt very strongly that their story of indigenous youths who flee Guatemala and make their way to the U.S. should make it to the screen without corporate tampering. In seeking funding for their project, they avoided Hollywood studios, certain that executives would demand changes in their script and/or casting. It took them two years, but they finally secured about half of the financial backing they needed for this low-budget project through PBS's American Playhouse. The remainder came from pre-sales, including a deal with the United Kingdom's Channel 4. Their efforts to preserve the concept and characters were justified by an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay, the first American independent film to be so recognized. They were also recognized with a nomination by the Writers Guild of America and a Best Film win at the Montreal World Film Festival. In 1995, the film was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." El Norte was first presented at the Telluride Film Festival, screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival in 1984, and is still regularly shown in high school Spanish and geography classes as well as college multiculturalism programs. The film's origins can be traced back to Nava's experiences in San Diego, California, where he grew up. The child of a Mexican and Basque family, he had relatives who lived just across the border in Tijuana. He often crossed the border in his youth, struck by the stark contrast between the prosperous American city to the north ("el norte") and the cardboard shacks on the other side. Nava and Thomas met at UCLA, where he directed a short film based on the life of Garcia Lorca, The Journal of Diego Rodriguez Silva, which won the Best Dramatic Film award at the National Student Film Festival. The two married in 1975 and collaborated on two projects: as co-writers (and he as director) on The Confessions of Amans (1976) and as two of several writers on The End of August (1982), but their attention was also focused on research about the plight of indigenous Guatemalans, conducted among those who had taken refuge in Southern California. "There are hundreds of thousands of refugees from Central America in Los Angeles alone," Nava told the New York Times at the time of the film's release. "Nobody knows the exact number, but a recent television inquiry estimated 300,000-400,000. In our own research, we came across a community of Mayans from Guatemala--5,000 from one village--now in Los Angeles. The original village, which is now dead, had 15,000." The film was shot in San Diego and Los Angeles and in Chiapas and Tijuana in Mexico. But some scenes of a Mexican village had to be recreated in California after cast and crew were forced out of Mexico. "We were filming in Mexico during the end of the López Portillo presidency, one of the last of the old-fashioned caciques to rule Mexico," Nava said in an interview with Soledad Santiago in the Santa Fe New Mexican. "One day, men with machine guns took over the set. I had guns pointed at my head. We were forced to shut down production, bribe our way out of the country, fight to get our costumes back, and start shooting again in California. Ironically, in the United States our extras were real Mayan refugees. They were the people the movie was about." According to a 1996 story about Thomas and Nava by Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times, "Mexican police kidnapped their accountant and held him for ransom, while, at the same time, his parents had to pose as tourists in order to smuggle exposed film out of the country in their suitcases." The film received rave reviews upon its release. Although he criticized the tragic ending as "arbitrary," Vincent Canby in The New York Times noted: "Mr. Nava does not patronize his 'little people.' This has something to do with the straight, unactorly quality of the performances, especially by Zaide Silvia Gutierrez as Rosa and David Villalpando as Enrique, two splendid Mexican actors." Ebert had no such reservations about the ending, comparing the film to a classic of times past, "with astonishing visual beauty, with unashamed melodrama, with anger leavened by hope. It is a Grapes of Wrath for our time." The picture was particularly praised for the way it wove into its realistic story the kind of magic realism usually seen only in literature, particularly novels from South America. The Washington Post reviewer Ann Hornaday, taking a look back at the film after more than 20 years, called El Norte "seminal, both for its graceful blend of classical narrative and magic realism, and the power with which it brought an otherwise invisible world to life." Nava and Thomas had truly found a singular voice and vision, one which clearly provided the immigrant point of view in a tragic-poetic framework, something that likely would never have been allowed in a major studio-backed production. Director: Gregory Nava Producers: Anna Thomas, Trevor Black, Bertha Navarro Screenplay: Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas Cinematography: James Glennon Editing: Betsy Blankett Music: Los Folkloristas Cast: Ernesto Gomez Cruz (Arturo), David Villalpando (Enrique), Zaide Silvia Guttierez (Rosa), Alicia del Lago (Lupe), Mike Gomez (Informer) By Rob Nixon

El Norte - Gregory Nava's EL NORTE - A Harrowing Tale of "The American Dream"


When UCLA filmmaker Gregory Nava decided to make El Norte he was bucking a trend that had never produced a hit film. In the Old Hollywood, movies with overt social themes were mostly not welcome. Mexican farmworkers are victimized in Border Incident, a film noir thriller that inadvertently celebrated a failed federal migrant workers program. Joseph Losey's The Lawless was too "political", while Herbert Biberman's Salt of the Earth dared to confront McCarthy-era controversy, and found few bookings. (See Footnote #1 at the bottom).

The New Hollywood approached the subject of illegal immigration, but mostly to establish the liberal credentials of an Anglo hero, as with Robert Redford in The Candidate. Nava and his producer / spouse Anna Thomas were determined to make a movie about illegals from the point of view of the immigrants themselves. The compassionate El Norte is free of political rhetoric -- and it dispels the hateful notion that these problematic immigrants are freeloaders trying to "re-colonize" the United States.

The PBS series American Playhouse provided much of the film's meager funding. Nava's tiny five-person crew filmed its "Guatemala" sequences in a remote Mexican state, dodging the hostility of local residents and extortion by local gunmen. The Mexican stars completed their work in the U.S. without appropriate visas, risking a production disaster. None of these hardships is reflected in the finished film.

El Norte asserts that political unrest accounts for many refugee-immigrants from Central America. Guatemalan peasant teenagers Rosa and Enrique Xuncax (Zaide Silvia Guti&ieacute;rrez & David Villalpando) must flee when their parents are murdered by paramilitary killers serving the landowners. They have good luck hitchhiking and riding buses north to Tijuana, only to run afoul of a thief posing as a coyote (a smuggler of illegal immigrants). Arrested by the U.S. border patrol, Rosa and Enrique pretend to be Mexicans. Deportation back to Guatemala would deliver them back into the hands of murderers. Friend Raimundo (Abel Franco) smuggles the pair through a miles-long sewer pipe, where they must fend off attacks by rats. Evading helicopter patrols, they soon arrive in the dream city of Los Angeles. All goes well at first. Enrique finds good work as a waiter and Rosa cleans houses with a new friend, Nacha (Lupe Ontiveros). Their landlord Monte (Trinidad Silva) tries to promote Enrique for a job in Chicago, which threatens to split the siblings up.

El Norte is an education for uninformed Americans. Central America in 1983 is a killing ground for dispossessed campesinos and those caught in civil wars. Enrique's father Arturo and mother Lupe (Ernesto Gómez Cruz & Alicia del Lago) lose their lives to a landowners' system that considers the indigenous population just another resource to be managed and controlled. As part of its assertive role in the region's politics, the U.S. denies political asylum rights to the refugees of certain countries. Helpless victims like Enrique and Rosa are left in a tough spot.

James Glennon's beautiful images highlight the beauty of the Xuncax's village, greatly enhanced by Criterion's Blu-ray encoding. Rosa takes a more practical attitude than her brother. She intuits that if they are lucky enough to escape, life will never be the same; she leaves her beautiful traditional clothing behind. Stuck at the U.S. border, Rosa willingly surrenders her mother's silver bracelet to pay for their passage.

Everything in Los Angeles impresses the siblings. They marvel at the electric light and plumbing. The city's underground economy makes use of vast numbers of undocumented workers. Rosa finds a trustworthy workmate and Enrique's diligence is appreciated by his employers at a fancy restaurant. He's proud of his busboy's uniform and soon wins a promotion.

Nava and Thomas' script does not cast its Anglo characters as villains. In a fairly hilarious scene, an upscale housewife breezes through the instructions for a complicated washer and dryer, and then can't fathom why Rosa feels more comfortable washing clothing by hand. Rosa then spreads the laundry out to dry on her employer's nice green lawn, and smiles at her handiwork. The restaurant bosses are impressed by Enrique's dignified manner and growing familiarity with English. Brother and sister both make friends and have high hopes for their new lives in America.

When trouble does come, it's from established Mexican-Americans. Enrique doesn't understand why a co-worker, an American citizen, would turn him in to La Migra, the federal immigration agents. He's also too inexperienced to recognize that Monte's job offers are blatant exploitation. Enrique eventually responds to a hollow promise of a coveted green card.

El Norte ends in a partial tragedy that stresses the utter vulnerability of the illegal immigrant. Enrique and Rosa take advantage of free English classes but are terrified of getting sick, for a hospital stay could lead to a visit by La Migra. A raid in a sewing sweatshop results in the arrest and presumed deportation of most of the residents of Monte's motel. A number of babies and children will probably never see their parents again -- Monte will take them straight to an orphanage.

Gregory Nava steers his story away from melodramatic extremes and only once or twice resorts to dialogue of the "Life is hard for us, but some day ..." variety. He also maintains a dimension of mystery. Enrique and Rosa experience spiritual visions of their parents that reveal the depth of the culture and traditions they've left behind. Director Nava succeeds in his mission -- El Norte encourages viewers to reassess their feelings about the invisible armies of people serving their food, tending their lawns and watching their babies.

Criterion's Blu-ray encoding of El Norte demonstrates that low budget productions need not look improvised or slipshod. James Glennon's glowing photography reflects the differences in the natural lighting found in the high mountains, on the Mexican desert and in hazy Los Angeles. The Blu-ray resolution and sharpness add substantially to the film's impact.

Criterion producer Abbey Lustgarten offers a number of informative extras. Director Nava is present for a full commentary and joins writer-producer Thomas and actors Gutiérrez and Villalpando in a fine making-of documentary, In the Service of Shadows. We learn that pieces of the Mexican sequence had to be restaged in the United States, after the crew had a run-in with armed men holding their exposed negative for ransom.

Nava's award-winning 1972 UCLA student film The Journal of Diego Rodriquez is an especially welcome extra. A gallery of photographs, a trailer and an insert booklet with pieces by Héctor Tobar and Roger Ebert round out the package.

The film has dialogue in English, Spanish and K'iche'.

Footnote #1. Five years before El Norte, another movie about illegals was shown on PBS, the more documentary-like Alambrista!, directed by Robert M. Young. A Mexican laborer tries to support his family by slipping across the border to work. The film ends with a powerful scene of a desperate illegal giving birth in a customs booth at a Mexican border crossing.

For more information about El Norte, visit The Criterion Collection. To order El Norte, go to TCM Shopping.

by Glenn Erickson

El Norte - Gregory Nava's EL NORTE - A Harrowing Tale of "The American Dream"

When UCLA filmmaker Gregory Nava decided to make El Norte he was bucking a trend that had never produced a hit film. In the Old Hollywood, movies with overt social themes were mostly not welcome. Mexican farmworkers are victimized in Border Incident, a film noir thriller that inadvertently celebrated a failed federal migrant workers program. Joseph Losey's The Lawless was too "political", while Herbert Biberman's Salt of the Earth dared to confront McCarthy-era controversy, and found few bookings. (See Footnote #1 at the bottom). The New Hollywood approached the subject of illegal immigration, but mostly to establish the liberal credentials of an Anglo hero, as with Robert Redford in The Candidate. Nava and his producer / spouse Anna Thomas were determined to make a movie about illegals from the point of view of the immigrants themselves. The compassionate El Norte is free of political rhetoric -- and it dispels the hateful notion that these problematic immigrants are freeloaders trying to "re-colonize" the United States. The PBS series American Playhouse provided much of the film's meager funding. Nava's tiny five-person crew filmed its "Guatemala" sequences in a remote Mexican state, dodging the hostility of local residents and extortion by local gunmen. The Mexican stars completed their work in the U.S. without appropriate visas, risking a production disaster. None of these hardships is reflected in the finished film. El Norte asserts that political unrest accounts for many refugee-immigrants from Central America. Guatemalan peasant teenagers Rosa and Enrique Xuncax (Zaide Silvia Guti&ieacute;rrez & David Villalpando) must flee when their parents are murdered by paramilitary killers serving the landowners. They have good luck hitchhiking and riding buses north to Tijuana, only to run afoul of a thief posing as a coyote (a smuggler of illegal immigrants). Arrested by the U.S. border patrol, Rosa and Enrique pretend to be Mexicans. Deportation back to Guatemala would deliver them back into the hands of murderers. Friend Raimundo (Abel Franco) smuggles the pair through a miles-long sewer pipe, where they must fend off attacks by rats. Evading helicopter patrols, they soon arrive in the dream city of Los Angeles. All goes well at first. Enrique finds good work as a waiter and Rosa cleans houses with a new friend, Nacha (Lupe Ontiveros). Their landlord Monte (Trinidad Silva) tries to promote Enrique for a job in Chicago, which threatens to split the siblings up. El Norte is an education for uninformed Americans. Central America in 1983 is a killing ground for dispossessed campesinos and those caught in civil wars. Enrique's father Arturo and mother Lupe (Ernesto Gómez Cruz & Alicia del Lago) lose their lives to a landowners' system that considers the indigenous population just another resource to be managed and controlled. As part of its assertive role in the region's politics, the U.S. denies political asylum rights to the refugees of certain countries. Helpless victims like Enrique and Rosa are left in a tough spot. James Glennon's beautiful images highlight the beauty of the Xuncax's village, greatly enhanced by Criterion's Blu-ray encoding. Rosa takes a more practical attitude than her brother. She intuits that if they are lucky enough to escape, life will never be the same; she leaves her beautiful traditional clothing behind. Stuck at the U.S. border, Rosa willingly surrenders her mother's silver bracelet to pay for their passage. Everything in Los Angeles impresses the siblings. They marvel at the electric light and plumbing. The city's underground economy makes use of vast numbers of undocumented workers. Rosa finds a trustworthy workmate and Enrique's diligence is appreciated by his employers at a fancy restaurant. He's proud of his busboy's uniform and soon wins a promotion. Nava and Thomas' script does not cast its Anglo characters as villains. In a fairly hilarious scene, an upscale housewife breezes through the instructions for a complicated washer and dryer, and then can't fathom why Rosa feels more comfortable washing clothing by hand. Rosa then spreads the laundry out to dry on her employer's nice green lawn, and smiles at her handiwork. The restaurant bosses are impressed by Enrique's dignified manner and growing familiarity with English. Brother and sister both make friends and have high hopes for their new lives in America. When trouble does come, it's from established Mexican-Americans. Enrique doesn't understand why a co-worker, an American citizen, would turn him in to La Migra, the federal immigration agents. He's also too inexperienced to recognize that Monte's job offers are blatant exploitation. Enrique eventually responds to a hollow promise of a coveted green card. El Norte ends in a partial tragedy that stresses the utter vulnerability of the illegal immigrant. Enrique and Rosa take advantage of free English classes but are terrified of getting sick, for a hospital stay could lead to a visit by La Migra. A raid in a sewing sweatshop results in the arrest and presumed deportation of most of the residents of Monte's motel. A number of babies and children will probably never see their parents again -- Monte will take them straight to an orphanage. Gregory Nava steers his story away from melodramatic extremes and only once or twice resorts to dialogue of the "Life is hard for us, but some day ..." variety. He also maintains a dimension of mystery. Enrique and Rosa experience spiritual visions of their parents that reveal the depth of the culture and traditions they've left behind. Director Nava succeeds in his mission -- El Norte encourages viewers to reassess their feelings about the invisible armies of people serving their food, tending their lawns and watching their babies. Criterion's Blu-ray encoding of El Norte demonstrates that low budget productions need not look improvised or slipshod. James Glennon's glowing photography reflects the differences in the natural lighting found in the high mountains, on the Mexican desert and in hazy Los Angeles. The Blu-ray resolution and sharpness add substantially to the film's impact. Criterion producer Abbey Lustgarten offers a number of informative extras. Director Nava is present for a full commentary and joins writer-producer Thomas and actors Gutiérrez and Villalpando in a fine making-of documentary, In the Service of Shadows. We learn that pieces of the Mexican sequence had to be restaged in the United States, after the crew had a run-in with armed men holding their exposed negative for ransom. Nava's award-winning 1972 UCLA student film The Journal of Diego Rodriquez is an especially welcome extra. A gallery of photographs, a trailer and an insert booklet with pieces by Héctor Tobar and Roger Ebert round out the package. The film has dialogue in English, Spanish and K'iche'. Footnote #1. Five years before El Norte, another movie about illegals was shown on PBS, the more documentary-like Alambrista!, directed by Robert M. Young. A Mexican laborer tries to support his family by slipping across the border to work. The film ends with a powerful scene of a desperate illegal giving birth in a customs booth at a Mexican border crossing. For more information about El Norte, visit The Criterion Collection. To order El Norte, go to TCM Shopping. by Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring March 1984

Released in United States May 20, 1985

Released in United States September 1990

Released in United States January 1991

Released in United States January 1999

Shown at Museum of Modern Art, New York City in the series "American Playhouse Ten Years of Independent Filmmaking" September 18 & 20, 1990.

Released in USA on video.

Completed shooting September 1983.

Selected in 1995 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Re-broadcast on American television over PBS March 23, 1987.

Released in United States Spring March 1984

Released in United States May 20, 1985 (Premiered on American television over PBS May 20, 1985.)

Released in United States September 1990 (Shown at Museum of Modern Art, New York City in the series "American Playhouse Ten Years of Independent Filmmaking" September 18 & 20, 1990.)

Released in United States January 1999 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival (Sundance Collection) in Park City, Utah January 21-31, 1999.)

Released in United States January 1991 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival Park City, Utah January 17-27, 1991.)