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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...


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 »


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 »


... ... 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 »


“Like Jacques Demy on speed.” - Time Out ... Chantal Akerman's candy-coloured musical is set entirely in a Parisian shopping mall, in an unashamed celebration of 80s French pop, young love and ... More »


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 »


The Melbourne Him Festival has been showing Chantal Akerman's highly original and demanding films regularly over the years ("Jeanne Dielrnan", "Les Rendezvous D'Anna", "Toute Une Nuit",) with varying ... More »

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