7.7/10
4,500
52 user 26 critic

El Norte (1983)

R | | Drama | 27 January 1984 (USA)
Trailer
1:33 | Trailer
Peasants escaping mindless labor and a murderous Guatemalan government head to America in hopes for something better.

Director:

Gregory Nava

Writers:

Gregory Nava (story), Anna Thomas
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernesto Gómez Cruz ... Arturo
David Villalpando ... Enrique
Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez ... Rosa
Alicia del Lago Alicia del Lago ... Lupe
Mike Gomez ... Informer
Jose Martin Ruano Jose Martin Ruano ... Foreman
Stella Quan Stella Quan ... Josefita
Heraclio Zepeda Heraclio Zepeda ... Pedro (as Eraclio Zapeda)
Emilio Gomez Ozuna Emilio Gomez Ozuna ... Luis
Daniel Lemus Valenzuela Daniel Lemus Valenzuela ... Encarnacion
Rodrigo Puebla Rodrigo Puebla ... El Puma the Soldier
Yosahandi Navarrete Quan Yosahandi Navarrete Quan ... Josefita's Daughter
Rodolfo De Alexandre Rodolfo De Alexandre ... Ramon
Emilio Del Haro Emilio Del Haro ... Truck Driver
Jorge Moreno ... Old Man on Bus
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Storyline

Peasants, tired of beingnothing more than manual laborers, are discovered by the Guatemalan army. After the army destroys their village, a brother and sister, decide they must flee el Norte. After receiving help from friends and advice from a veteran immigrant on strategies for traveling, they make their way to Los Angeles. Written by Ed Cannon <ecannon@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The magical film that reveals the world between the dream and the reality

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

Spanish | Maya | English

Release Date:

27 January 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Au nord le paradis See more »

Filming Locations:

Guatemala City, Guatemala See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,920, 15 September 2019

Gross USA:

$27,920

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$27,920
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jorge Moreno's final film. See more »

Goofs

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 »


Soundtracks

Adagio for Strings
by Samuel Barber
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Faithfully mirrors the fear and uncertainty of illegal immigrants
9 August 2004 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

In the 1980s, military repression and civil warfare intensified in both Guatemala and El Salvador, resulting in massacres, forced displacement, and political assassinations. Thousands left Central America to come to America, most of them illegally. Those who entered the U.S. filed for political asylum but despite the reports of murders and disappearances, barely three percent of applicants received asylum. Today, approximately half of Salvadorans and Guatemalans living in the U.S. have less than an eighth grade education and most work long hours in jobs on the low end of the pay scale and their situation makes it nearly impossible to advance or make long term plans.

Gregory Nava's 1983 Indie film El Norte describes the plight of two young Guatemalans, Enrique (David Villalpando) and his sister Rosa (Zaide Silvia Gutierrez) who face reprisals from the military after participating in a protest meeting and undertake a hazardous journey to "the north" to find a better life. The film is divided into three parts: "Arturo Xuncax", describing the circumstances that caused the family to leave Guatemala "El Coyote", detailing their hazardous journey to reach the U.S., and "El Norte", telling the story of their life in Los Angeles. While El Norte does have a strong political message, the core of the film is the relationship between Enrique and Rosa.

The hardships of the journey are told in graphic detail, especially the last test of crossing the border by crawling on their hands and knees through an abandoned sewer line populated by hordes of rats. Things seem to be bright, however, when they arrive in Los Angeles. He becomes a busboy in an upscale restaurant, she finds work as a maid in Beverly Hills, and both try to learn English in their free time. They soon find, however, that life in the U.S. is not all that it appears and their situation unravels when Enrique is reported to INS officials by a jealous employee. El Norte wears its heart on its sleeve and the film tends toward the melodramatic, but it faithfully mirrors the fear and uncertainty that illegal immigrants face each day and I can forgive its flaws and applaud the loving bond between brother and sister and the strength it produces in their lives.


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