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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Simply Magnificent

10/10
Author: shell_217 from United States
9 June 2006

I have not seen such a great film in a long time. I don't know where to begin. It's a great narrative, wisely thought out. The cinematography, well, that's breathtaking. The actors are all great. I really like that they actually did a little research in terms of the reality of these locations. This story deals with immigration to the North (whatever that may be), whether it is Morroccans crossing into Spain, Mexicans or Cubans crossing over to the US. It does not deal with the hardship of the millions of people who cross over, but rather with the families of these, their children, who want to search for their fathers. HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Real and simple: Outstanding cinema

9/10
Author: Mariana Cornejo from Mexico
6 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Al otro lado (At the other side) is a modest movie, not very long (just 90 minutes), but condensates the whole feeling from what a real movie should be. It's the story of the children and their relation with the problem of emigration and its consequences. This might be a sure formula to get cheap sentimentalism but this film avoids it successfully. Yes, children are always a good way to get not only empathy but the complete favor from the audience. But the story doesn't have the intention to makes you cry: It tells the simple story just as it is in life: Difficult but funny, without giving up the dreams nor the hope. The emigration seen through the eyes of a child is a good theme but it was a pity that the film just focuses in the emigration to the USA and Spain, and this is a worldwide problem that maybe deserved a mayor experiment as seen on 11'09''01 - September 11. What happens in Asia, in Africa, in Oceania? A good example can be seen in the Academy Award Winner Reise der Heffnung(1990)- Journey of Hope. Anyway, Al otro lado is a winner in cinema, in sincere storytelling, in transmitting the message with creation of beauty. Don't miss this one.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Stunningly beautiful trio of stories about the lives of immigrants

10/10
Author: mikesheldon55-1 from United States
13 January 2006

This should be mandatory viewing for every loud mouth American who pontificates about immigrants while shoving cheap food in their mouth supplied by workers from around the world. Don't let that statement keep you away..this is no bleeding hearts polemic. These are stories full of heart, sentiment (but not sentimentality), and love. The acting was beautiful: the child playing Mexican Pricilliano (sp?) gave an amazing performance, but an equal argument could be given in the Cuban and Morrocan stories too. The repeated use of actors was excellent. I wasn't totally sure of what I clearly was seeing. The film had humor, pathos, a touch of mysticism, tragedy.........wonderful music, beautiful photography. I guess I opened the review with my statement because I felt so completely immersed in three different cultures, and none of them were worlds that I felt like I really knew before. I just saw it at the Palm Springs Film Festival as one of the potential Academy Award nominees, and I wish it was available for more showings. I loved this film.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A work of love

7/10
Author: José Luis Rivera Mendoza (jluis1984) from Mexico
8 June 2005

This movie tells three stories sharing a common theme: the absence of a father figure in families. We witness the lives of three kids (from Mexico, Cuba and Morocco), and their curiosity for discovering the fates of their fathers who left their respective families.

We follow a Mexican kid that watches his father leave their house in order to find a job in the USA, a Cuban kid who dreams of finding his true father (an American citizen) and bringing him back to La Habanna, and finally, the journey of Fátima, traveling from Morocco to Málaga, Spain, trying to find her father that left her seven years ago.

Their adventures and the consequences of those are the main plot of the movie and while it may sound like a simple premise it is the way the stories are told (bordering on harsh reality and surreal fantasy) which makes the movie flow smoothly.

This mixture of fantastic surrealism and harsh realism is a constant through the movie, it is handled very well as children see life that way, specially when reality consumes fantasy at the time of the loss of a beloved member of the family.

The cinematography of the movie is one of the best seen in a Mexican movie, and the way the stories are told make the movie really enjoyable. It does not go for cheap empathy or giving the child characters easy development.

The acting is remarkably good in the three lead children actors. Nevertheless, the adult cast at times is inconsistent, and maybe the fact that the three stories were filmed at different times by different teams complicated the work. The story of Morocco has the best acting and photography, the story of Mexico is the best written, but the story of Cuba is easily the best as a whole, it is the most balanced and developed of the three.

It is not a perfect movie, the inconsistent quality between the three stories is notorious at times, but the movie definitely delivers its message. Very Recommended. Probably the best Mexican movie of the year. And maybe one of the best of the decade. 7/10

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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Not enough...

6/10
Author: 19eidyfor from Mexico City
11 June 2005

This movie has a very interesting structure, good acting, beautiful scenes, even the script brights for moments... but unfortunately no one of the stories involves enough as is expected. Instead we've got a lot of common 'dramatic 'till it hurts' situations as in the major part of this films.

Enhacing the fact of the very child performing, the plot is just an easy dramatic exploitation in itself with no sense of touch with the real 'cause and effect' of the parental leaving home.

Anyway this film could worth for watching the beautiful photography. Some of the scenes in the 3 stories are simply unforgettable.

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3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

a story of hope

Author: andres-08 from Mexico
22 May 2005

The movie is composed by three short films that, in appearance, are connected by a theme: the immigrants lacking identity papers. This it is not completely true if we set us in the plot of the story that happens in Cuba, where a boy wants to seek his father, an American citizen. In reality Al Otro Lado is the story of three children that want to enjoy his absent parents but are impeded by their economic situation; three stories that themselves turn in just one story of hope. The performances have many ups and downs, mostly mediocre. The score turns out to be contrasting, with certain melodies that integrate you to the plot, and others too corny that separate you form the film. The serious problem of the film is the edition; it does not achieve that the three short films be seen like a thematic whole. Perhaps, juxtaposing more the three stories, the movie would be more tolerable.

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