Nov 16, 2007 in BEYOND THE BORDER Reviews
by Dr. Gregory A. Waller
Chair and Professor
Department of Communication and Culture
Beyond the Border is an excellent documentary—insightful, timely, accessible, and deeply committed to telling the important story of contemporary immigration and border crossings in fully human terms. Focusing on one family whose four sons journey north from a small village in Michoacan, Mexico to find work in Central Kentucky, Eren Isabel McGinnis and Ari Luis Palos skillfully manage to honor the real lives of their subjects and to raise a host of complex social and political issues without ever settling for easy answers or melodramatic simplifications. The result is a moving, engaging, insightful documentary that will be sure to generate valuable discussion in the classroom.
I was amazed at how much McGinnis and Palos are able to accomplish in this hour-long piece. Not only is their documentary fully up to the highest broadcast quality standards in production and post-production values, but they have managed to locate and gain the trust of an entire family, whose situation personifies the implications of US immigration policy and dramatizes key changes in the social and economic landscape of Kentucky over the past two decades. In Beyond the Border, this family lives; they are not reduced to being stereotypical victims or faultless heroes. We see them taking up different lives in Kentucky; we see them at home, listen to their parents, hear of their aspirations and problems, their homesickness and adaptation to life in the United States. At the same time, Beyond the Border draws pointed contrasts across generations and across nations, moving from Michoacan to Lexington, Kentucky. Through its interviews and location filming it documents the emergence of a Latino culture in the Bluegrass.
I think that students from middle school up would find the intertwined stories of the Ayala brothers a fascinating introduction to topics that can only become more important over the coming years.
TO ORDER DVD COPIES OF BEYOND THE BORDER PLEASE VISIT: