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From the Other Side (I) (2002)
"De l'autre côté" (original title)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 121 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 4 user | 11 critic | 5 from Metacritic.com

A documentary look at the fate of Mexicans who cross the border into the United States.

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A documentary look at the fate of Mexicans who cross the border into the United States.

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4 June 2003 (France)  »

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From the Other Side  »

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Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2002 (#04) See more »

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Occasionally very moving, and sometimes very beautiful
4 February 2012 | by (US) – See all my reviews

The issue of Mexicans trying to cross illegally into the US in search of work and hope is examined with a mix of styles by Akerman, something like her approach in 'Sud'.

Long, wordless images, give us a poetic sense of time and place -- sometimes still, sometimes tracking endlessly (one shot is nearly six minutes).

Intercut with these are affecting interviews with people on both 'sides' (literally and figuratively) of the issue. From those in Mexico who have lost loved ones forever as they wandered in the desert, to the US sheriff who provides a strikingly cogent sum up of the situation, and a powerful blast at current INS policies that have led to many deaths without stopping the problem, even as he also explains the emotional threat these 'intruders' represent to the rural Americans who live near the border.

This doesn't have quite the power of 'Sud', perhaps because the issue is more complex and diffuse, but it's still a powerful call for human caring trumping political concerns, told in a unique,slow, meditative way. It will drive some people crazy with it's pace and refusal to act like a 'normal' documentary, instead of a tone poem. But, for me, Akerman's work rewards patience by leaving you with not just ideas or impotent anger of agreement or disagreement, but complex, haunted feelings that stay with you for days.


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