Roberto tends his own, unprofitable farm in Mexico To earn enough money to keep his wife and their expected child, he decides he must work in the United States for a white His mother tells him that his father did the same intending to stay there temporarily, but never returned.
Roberto crosses the border illegally, managing to avoid discovery by the border police and immigration authorities He wanders about until he finds his first job, working on a farm, where he meets other Mexicans One of them takes him in his care During a trip to town, riding under a train on makeshift supports the man is killed.
The 'alambrista' (the illegal), reaches town, tries various jobs which pay him very little for long hours One night, completely worn out, he fails asleep in a cafe and is thrown out onto the sidewalk A waitress stops a man from stealing Roberto's money, and takes him home Although they cannot converse with each other, they are attracted to one another He moves in with her, but continues sending money back to his wife.
He is caught in an immigration raid and taken back to Mexico, but at the border is recruited for a strike-breaking |ob He is smuggled once again into America Roberto reacts angrily to the treatment of alambristas like himself, becomes a witness to his father's death, and discovers the truth about the man who abandoned his mother.
Camera d'Or, Cannes; Gold Prize, International Catholic Film Award, San Sebastian; Evangelical Jury Award, Mannheim.
Born: 1924. 1951-75 made numerous short and feature length documentaries, mostly for TV. Features: Alambrista(1977), Short Eyes (1978), Rich Kids (1979).