Raul O Paz Pastrana
AFI Docs, Margaret Mead, New Orleans, Guadalajara, Indie Memphis, Indie Grits, San Diego Latino
An exploration of the dangerous path taken by migrants between Latin America and the US.
As has been chronicled in numerous documentaries, the policies enacted by the US government to deter migrants from seeking to cross the southern border have not stopped desperate people from risking – and often losing – their lives. Raul O Paz Pastrana’s film looks at some of these individuals, a group of Nicaraguans taking a trail from southern Mexico to the US, and the makeshift community they’ve formed along the way. At the doc’s center, however, is Gustavo, a Nicaraguan who was shot by Mexican police, providing him with high profile media attention and grounds to seek asylum. To underscore the dangers of crossing, a second and not quite as compelling thread follows an American anthropologist, Jason, who recovers traces of migrants for the Undocumented Migration Project – from backpacks and clothes to human remains. As a whole, Pastrana’s film is a quiet but thoughtful reminder of the ordinary people impacted by xenophobic fearmongering.