IMDb > El Norte (1983)
El Norte
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El Norte (1983) More at IMDbPro »

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El Norte -- Mayan Indian peasants flee north to the USA after their village is destroyed by the Guatemalan army

Overview

User Rating:
7.7/10   4,023 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Gregory Nava (story)
Anna Thomas (writer)
Contact:
View company contact information for El Norte on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
27 January 1984 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The magical film that reveals the world between the dream and the reality
Plot:
Peasants escaping mindless labor and a murderous Guatemalan government head to America in hopes for something better. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Journey through the Americas See more (47 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Ernesto Gómez Cruz ... Arturo

David Villalpando ... Enrique

Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez ... Rosa
Alicia del Lago ... Lupe

Mike Gomez ... Informer
Jose Martin Ruano ... Foreman
Stella Quan ... Josefita
Heraclio Zepeda ... Pedro (as Eraclio Zapeda)
Emilio Gomez Ozuna ... Luis
Daniel Lemus Valenzuela ... Encarnacion
Rodrigo Puebla ... El Puma the Soldier
Yosahandi Navarrete Quan ... Josefita's Daughter
Rodolfo De Alexandre ... Ramon
Emilio Del Haro ... Truck Driver
Jorge Moreno ... Old Man on Bus
Palomo Garcia ... Coyote at Bus Station
Ismael Gamez ... Jeering Slumdweller
Silverio Lujan ... Jeering Slumdweller
Socorro Velazquez ... Jeering Slumdweller

John Martin ... Border Guard Ed

Ronald G. Joseph ... Border Guard Joel (as Ron Joseph)
Abel Franco ... Raimundo
Rosario Cevellos ... Fruit Vendor

Trinidad Silva ... Monte

Lupe Ontiveros ... Nacha
Young Chung ... Mr. Chung
Gregory Enton ... Len the Restaurateur

Tony Plana ... Carlos the Bus Boy
Slavitza Yhuelo ... Model in Sweatshop
Julie Silliman ... Model in Sweatshop

Enrique Castillo ... Jorge the Dishwasher

Momo Yashima ... English Teacher
Jomarie Ward ... Helen Rogers (as Jo Marie Ward)
Loraine Shields ... Girl Who Orders Coffee

Larry Cedar ... Bruce the Waiter

Sheryl Bernstein ... Karen the Hostess

Diane Cary ... Alice Harper (as Diane Civita)
Eulalia Cardenas ... Curandera
Jules Segal ... INS Officer
Perry Page ... INS Officer
Mary Armantrout ... Nurse

George O'Hanlon Jr. ... Doctor Murphy

Bo Kane ... Lab Technician (as Bob Kane)
Pablo Velasquez ... Foreman at Construction Site
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sergi Dagliana ... Olinto (uncredited)
Giuseppe Furia ... Requiem (uncredited)
Pado Hende ... Dilvo (uncredited)

Sean O'Kane ... Immigration Officer (uncredited)
Antonio Prester ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Sabina Vannucchi ... Rosa (uncredited)

Directed by
Gregory Nava 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Gregory Nava  story
Anna Thomas  writer

Produced by
Trevor Black .... producer
Bertha Navarro .... producer
Anna Thomas .... producer
 
Original Music by
The Folkloristas  (as Los Folkloristas)
 
Cinematography by
James Glennon 
 
Film Editing by
Betsy Blankett Milicevic  (as Betsy Blankett)
 
Casting by
Bob Morones 
 
Costume Design by
Hilary Wright 
 
Production Management
Trevor Black .... production manager: USA
Amanda Gill .... production manager: USA
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Amanda Gill .... second assistant director
Tony Ogaz .... third assistant director
 
Art Department
David Wasco .... set designer
David Wasco .... set dresser
 
Sound Department
Gregg Barbanell .... foley artist
Gregg Barbanell .... supervising sound editor
Julia Evershade .... sound editor
Arnold Finkelstein .... assistant sound editor
David Kern .... sound effects editor
Michael C. Moore .... sound designer
Michael C. Moore .... sound recordist
Richard Portman .... re-recording mixer
Marshall Winn .... sound editor
Robert Yerington .... sound recordist
Jerry Trent .... foley artist (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Doc D. Charbonneau .... stunts
 
Camera and Electrical Department
James Glennon .... first assistant camera: USA
James Glennon .... second assistant camera: Mexico
Chris Lombardi .... second assistant camera
Gregory Nava .... additional photographer: USA
Ronald Vidor .... additional director of photography
Ronald Vidor .... camera operator: principal photography (uncredited)
 
Music Department
The Folkloristas .... music performers: original and traditional music (as Los Folkloristas)
Timothy Hardling .... music consultant: Latin American music
Melecio Martinez .... composer: original harp music
Melecio Martinez .... music performer: original and traditional harp music
Linda O'Brien .... music recordist: Guatemalan music
Linda O'Brien .... music researcher: Guatemalan music
Lida P. Saskova .... music editor
Mariachi Uclatlan .... music arranger: mariachi music (as Mariachi Nuevo Uclatlan)
Mariachi Uclatlan .... music performer: mariachi music (as Mariachi Nuevo Uclatlan)
 
Other crew
Mike Sowa .... digital color timer
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The North" - International (English title) (literal English title)
See more »
Runtime:
141 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: When Enrique sees that Rosa has died, for a couple seconds we still see her breathing.See more »
Quotes:
Jorge:Rosa... it doesn't matter!See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)See more »
Soundtrack:
Emperor WaltzSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
9 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
Journey through the Americas, 9 April 2004
Author: nk_gillen from United States

Like Ruben Martinez's recent nonfiction work on Latino emigrants, "Crossing Over," Gregory Nava's film, "El Norte," begins with a re-working of the Passion Play--only this time the Christ figure is Arturo Xuncax, a Guatemalan Indian and guerilla leader, who's betrayed to the landowner/elites by one of his own followers. As a result, Xuncax and his "disciples" are killed in a bloody nocturnal raid staged by the elites' enforcers--members of the Guatemalan military--and Arturo's severed head is suspended by rope from a tree limb to serve as a warning to others who may conspire against the Oppressor.

Viewers are forgiven, therefore, if they expect a story of political martyrdom and vengeance, since it is Arturo's son, Enrique, who takes up the machete that his murdered father (a "Man of Peace") refused to bring along with him to his fate. Instead, Enrique is advised by a friend to strike out to "el Norte." And since the military has vowed to de- populate Arturo's village, this would appear to be sound advice.

Thus begins one of the best "journey" films ever made. Enrique and his sister, Rosa (presumably, both are still in their teens), make the long trek from their once-idyllic Central American mountain village to what they mistakenly believe will be a comfortable, material existence in California, US of A.

While the Guatemalan scenes in "El Norte" are dark, foggy, murky, and formally paced, the second section of the film (subtitled "El Coyote") begins with a blast of mariachi music and we see the pair of young travelers on a bright, sunlit, modern Mexican highway. Most of this section deals with Rosa and Enrique's efforts to cross the Mexi-Cali border, yet this portion also gives the director a chance to delineate the personalities of his hero and heroine.

Enrique is characterized as an idealist, a dreamer, eternally kind at heart to everyone. No less kinder is Rosa. But as Enrique explains to a retired smuggler, "I think she is stronger than the two of us put together." He's right. Rosa possesses a harder edge than Enrique--an inner strength, in fact, that makes her the emotional and spiritual center of the film. On a bus ride through the Mexican countryside, she refuses to close the window next to her seat, despite the protests of a man sitting behind her; she refuses to be prevented from embracing and observing life as it truly is. Rosa is a realist. While in Tijuana, she explains to Enrique that the sale or pawning of their mother's jewelry is the only practical way they can finance their crossing over to America. Enrique, ever the sentimentalist, objects. But Rosa insists; and in the end, she wins this minor argument.

Brother and sister do manage to make it across the borderline--but at a terrible price that doesn't become evident until the film's conclusion.

"El Norte" was made on a shoestring; but Nava's direction is clever, sometimes in a style reminiscent of late-50's French New Wave, but more often as naturalistic as an Upton Sinclair novel. Indeed, a scene showing Enrique flexing his muscles while begging for work with a construction crew seems an obvious reference to Sinclair's "The Jungle."

The film is very well-cast, every scene directed economically but effectively. There is no waste-motion in this movie. Its rhythm is lyrical without being needlessly reflective. The acting is first-rate, especially the performances of two of the minor players: Lupe Ontiveros (as Nacha, Rosa's friend in Los Angeles) and Trinidad Silva (as Monte, the cynical, opportunistic baseball fanatic).

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