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FROM THE OTHER SIDE

France / Belgium, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Documentaries)

Director: Chantal Akerman

Chantal Akerman's haunting new documentary focuses on the plight of Mexican workers and their attempts to cross the US border and forge a better life 'on the other side'.

Akerman sets the story in the twin towns of Agua Prieta, Mexico and Douglas, Arizona, USA. In Agua Prieta, she interviews those inhabitants whose desire to improve their lot in life requires them to risk their lives by crossing an unforgiving desert. Their fears and aspirations, anxieties and dreams are crystallised in heartbreaking accounts. In Douglas, the residents, both the police and ordinary citizens alike, express concern that the illegal immigrants pose a terrorist and health threat—ranchers even willingly turn a blind eye to the law and shoot Mexican trespassers.

With her trademark style of employing long tracking sequences and extended static shots, Akerman alternates vistas of astonishing beauty with penetrating tales to reinforce the stalemate that exists between the two very different countries.

See also...

FROM THE EAST

This stylised documentary from the (always art) House of Akerman is the product of the director's travels from East Germany to Moscow shot over some six months. Without the conventional documentary ... More »

ALMAYER'S FOLLY

Belgian filmmaking's most revered auteur returns with a freewheeling adaptation of Joseph Conrad's first novel. ... Atmospheric, subversive and impeccably controlled, Almayer's Folly continues ... More »

NIGHT AND DAY

... ... Considering that she is one of the most con­sistently original filmmakers of our time, ifs difficult to explain the under-currency of Chantal Akerman's work. Put it down to the vagaries ... More »

MAN WITH A SUITCASE

Akerman's Man With a Suitcase, starring herself, is an unexpected mixture of Chaplinesque comedy and poignant self-mockery. ... Returning home to write a film script and desperately needing the ... More »

PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG GIRL AT THE END OF THE 60S, IN BRUSSELS

Belgium's arbiter of minimalist chic, Chantal Akerman, takes a leisurely stroll through the capital, casting a casual but revealing glance at adolescent anxiety and unspoken love along the way ... More »

GOLDEN EIGHTIES

Chantal Akerman's Golden Eighties is an exuberant witty tongue-in-cheek musical for the modern age. The inescapable comparison is with the light-opera musicals of Jacques Demy, but Akerman's touch is ... More »

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