|Index||10 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went to see this movie with very little expectations, since most of
these movies are usually just depressing and unoriginal; but Paraiso
Travel is VERY well made, the characters are well developed and the
actors and actresses certainly get the job done! The story of two young
adults (Reina & Marlon) apparently after graduating high school and
dreaming of having "the American dream" in New York, but encountering
the crude reality of how things really work and happen when you're
illegal in an unknown country and language. The story works combining
flashbacks of how they got to the US (leaving Medellin, Colombia to
Guatemala, Mexico, Texas and finally New York) with Marlon's present in
New York. Upon arriving to a 4 by 4 "dirt-hole" in New York Marlon has
a small argument with his girlfriend Reina, he goes out to smoke and
throws a package of cigarettes to the ground some policemen are around,
and come up to him to let him know about littering; Marlon knowing he's
illegal and unable to understand a word in English runs for his life
and ends up getting lost, homeless and without Reina. His fight is not
only surviving in NYC but searching for his girlfriend, working and
most importantly finding himself; while the viewer sees all of what
Marlon and his girlfriend had to go through to get to the United
Great movie I completely recommend it!
Yes, one of the leading women turns out to be manipulative and
appalling, but the woman at the restaurant and the woman who runs the
stand next door are almost saintly, and even the woman who turns to
topless dancing turns out to have a considerable heart.
This is not remotely a portrait of all Latin women or men. It is a story about one fairly naive guy who undergoes a series of adventures in a land where he can't speak the language and emerges with new knowledge.
Some of it is funny, some of it is heartbreaking. If I have any criticism -- and it's not much of one -- it's that the end titles are way more sophisticated stylistically than the movie they follow, and so they don't quite match. Big criticism, yes? Other than that, it's fascinating to see a film a lot of which takes place in a New York that seems to be a parallel and largely unseen world to the one Anglos like me live in. The idea that New York contains entire cultures that co-exist without much contact is intriguing.
I enjoyed watching Paraiso Travel. The plot line is fairly simple,
about the hardships gone through by a Colombian emigrant (Marlon)
trying to settle into a gritty-looking New York. Several (clever and
quite gripping) flashbacks bring Marlon back to the journey from
Medellin to the USA. Though it is simple, it is nonetheless shot with
much enthusiasm and with an unbiased approach to the plight of
emigrants trying to make it from scratch.
Yes, it is on the whole quite catchy, without too many off-topic errances which frequently marr such films. The film delivers on its depiction of hard-by emigrant families, never allowing itself to wallow into pessimism despite the hero's predicaments, I believe its message is essentially one of hope.
A last note: the ending was in fact very good, a good point for this movie which is worth catching.
PARAISO TRAVEL is an intense little film that joins the ranks of the
other multiple films dealing with immigration, this one as seen from
the eyes of those immigrating to the US. It is a hard driving film with
many messages about not only immigration but the rarely discussed
aspects of the torturous route to get to this country AND the resultant
disappointment/disenchantment with the America of the north - the
supposed land of dreams. Written by Jorge Franco Ramos and Juan Rendón
and directed by Simon Brand, the film was made with a cast of
relatively unknown actors (with the notable exception of John
Leguizamo) and one wonders had the actors been more experienced would
the film have been stronger.
The story relates the problems of two young people Reina (Angelica Blandon) and Marlon (Aldemar Correa) who 'escape' from Medillin, Colombia to make their way as immigrants passing through Guatemala, Mexico and Texas on their way to New York in search of the American Dream. The film is shot in flashback fashion: we are lead to believe that the two 'lovers' focus so strongly on their dream that they lose themselves in that pursuit. What this film does in very strong fashion is show the grueling, harsh, despicable events that occur to immigrants in the South American countries on their way 'north' - some of the events are difficult to watch. But even more strange is the response of the immigrants who do succeed in making it into the USA - without knowledge of the English language or the American labor situation and atrocious living conditions imposed on illegal immigrants. Marlon in particular seems to view the plight of the illegals (street workers, flop houses, menial jobs) with disgust, choosing to focus instead on his fruitless plight to regain his lost Reina separated from him after a misunderstanding in New York. To say more would spoil the ending. Suffice it to say that the film show the ugly side of immigration and the consequences that too often replace the dreams of those who make the dangerous trip to this land of possibility. It is another side of the coin we should all know.
I am a Colombian who currently resides (legally!) in NYC, and I have
actually visited the restaurant (it's in Jackson Heights) featured in
the film. I watched the movie in my home country, but i had to watch it
again upon moving to NYC. It is a staggering film filled with energy
and drama and mystery.
What truly makes this film great? It is probably the best film ever made that explores what illegal immigrants go through when they come to this country. Through a series of flashbacks, the main character recalls the journey to get to NYC while trying to track down the girl he came with to the country. The promises made to the Colombians making the trip, what they had to go through, the abuse they took and the number that made it to America alive will leave an emotional mark on the souls of all who watch the film. The best part is that the director is not heavy handed with it. Instead of several overly long tense scenes, he makes the point quickly with several much quicker scenes. It ultimately creates a type of narrative drumbeat, a rhythm if you will, that builds and builds in a subtle and articulate way.
Most of the film, however, follows the main character who got separated from his traveling companion and girlfriend, and who is now totally lost and despondent a country where he doesn't even speak the same language. At the risk of sounding political, I would love all the Congressmen and women to watch this film to better understand what people go through and why they often want to leave their home country. That said, the film is not political, but it is profoundly social and cultural, painting a narrative picture that will stay with the viewer for years to go. I highly recommend this movie!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Paraiso Travel is by far much more than just an illegal immigrant
story. I found that the story was well built and narrated with the only
exception of the part about lost mother. The characters were very human
in all their complexity and what i appreciated the most was that none
of them were perfect or "superhero" type. Even Marlon, the main
character, is not completely positive. He is weak and lost, doesn't
know how to deal with his anger and sexual desires but in the same time
he has a good heart and is willing to go through hell to find his lost
girlfriend instead of just going back home to Colombia to his fairly
I don't agree with one of the users saying that the film director probably hated women because of the way he portrayed Reina. She is just one of the numerous female characters there and she definitely belongs to the type of women who discover early how to exploit men with their sexuality and in the end it's the only thing they know do best. She never had feelings for Marlon luring him into following her to New York only to keep her company perhaps. So in the end Marlon realizes that beneath that sultry body and pretty face of Reina, there is no soul or heart or moral values. I didn't even feel bad for her having to live in a trailer with a baby and drunkard mother because in the end she deserved all that.
First of all, I'm not a movie critic. In fact, this is my first comment on a movie, EVER. So then, why do I dare giving my opinion about this film? Well, first of all, I can say that I admire the boldness in which some movies are made and/or written by Colombians (?) in later years, that includes soap operas that break the common poor girl rich guy schema of traditional Latin American series. As an example, 'Cafe con Aroma de Mujer', the only soap I actually watched (and I am NOT a soap opera fan) in which actress Margarita de Francisco played a great role. I have no less than praise for her in this movie. Ana de La Guerra was also great. Now, but the reason why I write my comments is because I see this movie as yet another eye opener for so many latinos that are looking forward to that 'Paraiso' and give anything (literally) in order to reach the land of opportunities. Even though the movie is far from being a documentary which is not intended to be anyways, and even though I was fortunate enough to migrate to North America legally so I don't really know what happens when you venture north this way, to me, the movie portrays the true crude reality that people face when they decide to come illegally, which is far from being a joy ride. Anyhow, but because I'm not here to judge anyone, I'd just like to mention that this movie as bold as it is to me, it's a good project that I see as the reality of not only the hardship most latinos face when traveling in such conditions but also a lost of the innocence when polluted by the differences in cultures they find once in the new land. Now this guy Marlon was lucky enough to find a heartwarming paisana, wife of whom initially completely rejected any help. But that's actually another story. But also the movie shows that this was the land that turned sassy, sexy, witty Reina into someone totally unexpected for him. That could've happened anywhere in the world though, even in their home Medellin. He was indeed, bait of her hidden ambition. Well, Have I said too much already? Maybe. Enjoy it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's been done far too many times. If you stare away from the drug
trafficking, the immigration issues, poverty, lying, betrayal, family,
and most importantly, love, are far better fodder for this film.
Some of the images and situations are very real and graphic. You can appreciate it because it doesn't show people who take a plane into the US, get a PhD and work their way up to a six-figure salary. This movie shows addiction, prostitution and squalor--a much more realistic point of view.
It's reminiscent of Amores Perros and Buendia Bakery. The plot is quite rich with many twists and turns. The journey in the film is also quite perilous. Upon arrival, the male lead is faced with many tough decisions. His search for Reina also gets to the point of lunacy.
I won't completely spoil the ending but the movie is well worth the watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK, I saw this movie at the tribeca film festival and came face to face
with the director as I tried to get the hell out of there. I wish I
could have said this to him now.
the guy must have a vendetta against the female race or something because the young (18 years old!!!) female lead Reina seems to be everything he wants you to hate about women. She is a cock tease, she uses her sexuality to get men to do things for her (quel horreur!), she cares about only one thing, coming to America to find her drug addicted mess of a mother and have a better life. Throughout the movies, she is robbed, raped, crosses the rio grande, is stuffed in a hollowed out tree stump and abandoned by her boyfriend in a skanky hostel in brooklyn. She is such a pathetic figure in the end of the movie, how could anyone possibly look this young messed up mother of an infant, prostitute and caretaker of a indigent mother in the eye and tell her to kill herself? well, thats what the director/writer and lead character does. what a mensch.
which leads me to the male "hero". although attractive in the face, he has the personality of Nomie Malone from Showgirls, and I have trouble believing all women fall for his charms. He continually gets himself lost by running around like a person who's never lived in a big city, I have a hard time swallowing that a colombian from medellin is that ignorant of neighborhoods and how to retrace their steps, that city has 3 million people in it. I've met colombians, they seem to do just fine with streets and landmarks, they even know how to drive!!!! They are a sophisticated and street savvy people. Even worse, he often stumbles into NYC landscapes that are right out of 80s movies clichés (trash can fire bums, squatters, s&m, payphones - your movie needs to be updated when it looks like a scene from bonfire of the vanities) This is not NYC, this is NYC circa 1988,
there's so much "ick" factor in this movie, there's even a sex scene with a sleeping grandma in the room. A SLEEPING GRANDMA PEOPLE!! Thats farrelly brothers gross, and not in a good way.
With a plot so similar to Showgirls its spooky, this movie is simply really really really bad.
It was surprising, at least after all the media attention in Latin circles it received, to come out of this movie as if I had just lost 2 hours of my time. If anything after having seen Mexican and Colombian cinema and being familiarized with the themes they depict, "Paraiso" doesn't seem to know where it wants to go and what subjects it really wants us to familiarize ourselves with. The theme of illegal immigration, a hot topic these days, has received plenty of attention from many media outlets, even film. Pick any Mexican or Colombian film from the last decade and the idea of an "Better American hope of life", is soon to be found, however, "Paraiso" fails at showing us what really motivates these characters or what lies behind their intentions. Possibly, poor acting has something to do with that, hiring non-actors from some of these roles was a huge mistake by Mr. Brand, who could learn plenty from his Mexican and Spanish counterparts, he lacks the experience to be able to take a mediocre script and really bring a believable and manageable story within the confines of the Spanish language. Hopefully Latin-American cinema has a little more to offer than this.
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