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Community, Language and Culture in Movie El Norte

In: Film and Music

Submitted By cakil
Words 1070
Pages 5
The movie “El Norte “is the one of the most successful and influential movies to represent the immigrants state. Director Gregory Nava’s gives the story of Guatemalan siblings Rosa and Enrique’s journey in a melodramatic way. The movie is divided to three main parts, Guatemala, Mexico and United States. The story of Rosa and Enrique’s shows us community, the power of language and culture in different countries. The story begins in Guatemala; it shows the happy family life which Rosa and Enrique have. Their family friends are visiting and they are talking about the life in United States. Rosa’s godmother says she has been reading Good Housekeeping magazines for ten years but she could not dare to go to El Norte. They are dressing colorful traditional Guatemalan costumes and appreciate their traditional music which is playing on the street. Their father Arturo is working as a coffee picker when he leaves home to attend a meeting against the unfair working conditions, Enrique runs after him to stop his father. Enrique asks his father not to go to the meeting because his mom was afraid that he will get in to trouble. Arturo said” I am afraid too but we can’t go this way we have to fight for our land”. The message that director wants to give us is in the Arturo’s statement to his son, “Poor have a heart and soul we try to teach this to rich too“. Arturo was honest man who was after his rights. Their father was killed terribly, so their life totally had been changed. Enrique was traumatized because Arturo’s head was cut and hanged form the tree. Their mother was taken away by soldiers and they were looking for Enrique too. Enrique knew that he could not live there he has to immigrate. Enrique was the only family member Rosa had and she felt that she was in danger too. She decided to go with Enrique. Rosa’s godmother gave her all her savings, this scene is so important because it is showing the importance of the family, friendship and support in their community. Also narrative of the circumstances is important to emphasize that not all immigrants come to United States because they are willing to have better life. Rosa and Enrique came because they did not have any other chance. Rosa and Enrique go to Mexico first. Their neighbor, who has been in United States before, recommends Enrique that if he keeps using “F word”; most of the people think that they are Mexicans. It is kind of stereotyping Mexicans but at the same time shows most of the people know very little about Latinos and Mexicans. The scene in Mexico and especially around border shows the poverty in the country. When they step out to bus they see lots of people trying to convince them they have the best service to enter in United States. The Mexican who looks like helpful person turns out to be a robber. While they are trying to cross the border, he wants to take their money. The fight between Enrique and the robber stops when he realizes that police is coming. When Rosa and Enrique are interrogates by American police, the power of the language comes up again. During the integration when the police officer asks them to read, he uses “F word” several times and it helps them to deport to Mexico instead of Guatemala. Rosa takes of her traditional clothing before they leave their village and she said “I can’t wear them anymore” because they have to act like Mexicans because of the political situation in Guatemala. Then, finally they reach the person who is recommended by their neighbor and who uses to be coyote. Old coyote helps them to enter the United States by the tunnel which has so many rats.
When they come to United States the coyote brings them to another man and get his commission. Rosa starts to work in a factory and at the very first day she escapes from the immigration police. Nacha offered her to team up and clean the houses because she is tired of working in factories which targeted by immigration police. They start to work as a house cleaner. Rosa asks “the street is looks like Mexico City” because it is full with Latinos, Nacho’s answer is “Gringos they live in their own neighborhood”. It shows the community does not really welcome immigrants. Also it is very difficult to adopt life in new place, for example washing machine is so complicated for Rosa so she washes all the clothes by hand and lays them on the grass in the garden. Rosa and Enrique attend language school to improve their English. Movie emphasizes the power of the language again and also shows learning English helps their life to get better. Nacha helps Rosa to change her appearance with more fashionable clothing Nacha said “have you ever heard Sears” and tokes her for shopping. When Enrique sees her with new clothing and makeup, he says “What is this? You look like a clown! “. Scene shows Enrique’s attachment to their culture also they try hard to integrate. Enrique gets an offer for a better pay job with the chance to become legal resident but he refuses to leave his sister. The house they are staying is a mess when they come but after a while they clean and organize it and one scene Enrique told his sister that “In this country you work hard you can get somewhere” they are proud to earn better life standards. Then suddenly everything changes, Rosa gets sick, immigration was looking for Enrique. Enrique gets promoted at the restaurant and jealous coworker is upset about it and calls immigration police. At the end Rosa dies in the hospital room. The conversation between Rosa and Enrique is heartbreaking. Rosa said “they told us we make lots of money but nobody told us it is so expensive here, at home they want to kill us, In Mexico poverty, and In the North we are not accepted, when we will find a home?”Enrique is all alone now.
El Norte is a great snapshot for the immigrant’s situation in 1980’s. The movie shows immigrants come with expectations but the reality might be so different. Director Nava has given the story of immigrants with the details to emphasize the importance of community, language and culture.…...

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