From the Other Side (De L'autre Cote) (2003)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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The story is old as the hills, yet every day it continues to unfold, every day more terribly.Sometimes poor people, in an attempt to survive, risk their lives and leave everything behind to live elsewhere. But they're not wanted elsewhere. And if they are wanted it's for their labor, to do jobs that no one wants to do. Some will pay for others to do those jobs, but not much.In FROM THE OTHER SIDE, elsewhere is the United States and the poor are mostly Mexicans. Renowned filmmaker Chantal Akerman shifts her focus between the border towns of Agua Prieta, Sonora, where people from all over Mexico wait in limbo before crossing over, and neighboring Douglas, Arizona, a town ringed by mountains and desert plains.For years, immigrants passed through San Diego. But now the INS, using cutting edge technologies developed during the Vietnam War and perfected for the Gulf War, has managed to quell the flow of illegals there. This leaves only the mountains and deserts of Arizona for those desperate enough to try their luck.The film opens with a series of interviews with Mexicans in Agua Prieta, many of whom have family members that have perished while crossing the border. In another interview, a local sheriff in Arizona comments on the government's crackdown as "a bad strategy and a bad plan," calling the elevated death toll "a calculated consequence."The INS calculated that the hardship and danger, the cold and the heat in Arizona, would stop the crossings, but you can't stop someone who's hungry. But you fear him. Fear the other; fear his filth, the disease he may be bringing in. Fear invasion. But never fear to kill him. -- © First Run/Icarus Films
Documentary , Special Interest
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First Run/Icarus Films

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Critic Reviews for From the Other Side (De L'autre Cote)

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4)

A highly stylized and artsy documentary that is more concerned with emotionalism and visual expressiveness than facts.

March 6, 2003
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

A spare, painterly and scrupulously unsentimental look at the plight of illegal Mexican immigrants massed at the United States border.

February 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Akerman's characteristically patient, pensive approach elegantly accommodates her reportorial responsibilities.

Full Review… | February 19, 2003
Village Voice
Top Critic

Akerman assumes the persona of a visitor who is probing the surface with the keen eye of a trained observer, but also with the humility of a stranger.

Full Review… | May 14, 2012
Movie Metropolis

Thought-provoking documentary on illegal immigrants.

Full Review… | April 19, 2012
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This film goes for more of a stylistic effect leaving the political impact secondary. A more effective approach would have made this much more the film that was needed.

Full Review… | April 19, 2012
Mark Leeper's Reviews

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