La Camioneta: The Journey of One American School Bus (2013)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Every day dozens of decommissioned school buses leave the United States on a southward migration that carries them to Guatemala, where they are repaired, repainted, and resurrected as the brightly-colored camionetas that bring the vast majority of Guatemalans to work each day. Since 2006, nearly 1,000 camioneta drivers and fare-collectors have been murdered for either refusing or being unable to pay the extortion money demanded by local Guatemalan gangs. LA CAMIONETA follows one such bus on its transformative journey: a journey between North and South, between life and death, and through an unfolding collection of moments, people, and places that serve to quietly remind us of the interconnected worlds in which we live. (c) Official Site
Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for La Camioneta: The Journey of One American School Bus

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (8)

It's well worth seeing.

November 1, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

What makes "La Camioneta" so interesting is not so much the story that it tells as it is the way that Kendall has chosen to tell it.

Full Review… | November 1, 2013
Top Critic

This sense of childlike wonder, and the respect accorded everyone involved in prolonging the bus's usefulness, are all the more impressive given that Kendall concludes with a sobering assessment of widespread civilian violence in Central America.

Full Review… | October 30, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The film wrings an almost bizarre amount of political, humanistic and spiritual substance out of this limited frame.

Full Review… | August 1, 2013
Top Critic

An unexpected and fascinating aspect of migration in the Americas, viewed in intimate close-up.

Full Review… | August 1, 2013
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

La Camioneta is a poetic, even dreamy, film that ultimately conveys the mystical sense of a transmigrated (mechanical) soul.

Full Review… | August 1, 2013
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for La Camioneta: The Journey of One American School Bus

The tale of the after-life of an American school bus segues a bit awkwardly into a broader review of the danger of bus driving in Guatemala and then back again to the more specific. All good stuff, just mismatched. I also felt I was left hanging after being told in the movie that American school buses are purchased for use in Guatemala and Africa but with nothing further mentioned of Africa. I'd like to have seen, perhaps, parallel tales of two buses.

Michael Harbour
Michael Harbour

Really? A documentary about a bus? Yup. And it works (the bus AND the film). It's short (71 minutes), but sweet. Mark Kendall produced, directed, photographed and edited this smartly subdued look at the yellow connection between Pennsylvania and Guatemala. The journey of an aging American school bus from auction to action, with a lot of human interest, and a brightly colored paint job, in between. The film captures to daily struggle of the 1,000 or so camioneta drivers to avoid death for failing to pay the extortion fees demanded by the local gangs. The score by Todd (billed by his first initial in the credits) Griffin showcases an incredibly talented musician. The spark plugs are firing beautifully in this fascinating documentary.


'La Camioneta'. An eye-opening look into the violent, high stakes life of a bus driver in Guatemala, which is so jarringly far-flung from what you'd expect. Surprisingly philosophical too!


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