The Web    www.100share.com    Google
 
El Norte - Criterion Collection
List Price: $39.95

Our Price: $27.75

You Save: $12.20 (31%)

 


Product Description

Brother and sister Enrique and Rosa flee persecution at home in Guatemala and journey north, through Mexico and on to the United States, with the dream of starting a new life. It s a story that happens every day, but until Gregory Nava's groundbreaking El Norte (The North), the personal travails of immigrants crossing the border to America had never been shown in the movies with such urgent humanism. A work of social realism imbued with dreamlike imagery, El Norte is a lovingly rendered, heartbreaking story of hope and survival, which critic Roger Ebert called a Grapes of Wrath for our time.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
New, restored high-definition digital transfer supervised and approved by director Gregory Nava
New audio commentary featuring Nava
In the Service of the Shadows: The Making of El Norte: a new video program featuring interviews with Nava, producer and cowriter Anna Thomas, actors Zaide Silvia Guti¨¦rrez and David Villalpando, and set designer David Wasco
Wall of Silence, a new short documentary by Nava and Barbara Martinez Jitner, concerning the building of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border
The Journal of Diego Rodriguez Silva, the 1972 award-winning student film by Nava
Gallery of Chiapas location-scouting photographs
Theatrical trailer
New and improved English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by novelist H¨¦ctor Tobar and Roger Ebert's 1983 review of the film

Customer Reviews:

  • Woah!
    I've had the privilege of seeing this film on VHS, DVD, and also once in 35mm in theaters. For a very long while, I was convinced that some of the older movies were fairly useless on blu-ray, and this film will show many of those nay-sayers wrong. this film was beautifully shot back then, and will transfer well in the first of C. collection onto blu-ray. This film hasn't aged particularly well, but it is still a vibrant and beautiful piece of film history, and deserves a watch. I'm very glad to see a film like this make it onto Blu-Ray, as it's a sign that indie still has a strong place in the HD market....more info
  • Impatiently waiting
    This movie is by far one of the most well written stories about the struggles of Central American people. I am Guatemalen, so I can truly relate to this story. I've yet to watch this movie with out crying at the end. The movie captures the essence and the culture of Guatemalen people. The culture is one of very tight-nit families with old fashion values. Although this movie takes place in the 80's and a lot has changed in Guatemala since then, I can tell you for a fact that the people have not. I've gone to Guatemala many times, most recently a month ago. It would truly be paradise if it were not for the immense poverty level. I was born here in the United States, but I know the struggles my parents went thru when the came at the age of 19. Please release this movie on DVD! I do have it on VHS (and I guard it with my life) but unfortunately there is also static at the beginning. If you have not watched this movie, make sure that you do....more info
  • "Make them think you're Mexican...just say 'Chinka' all the time".
    This film deserves to be on DVD, especially with today's Political Climate. Could it be that the Powers-that-be don't wish to see anything that's sympathetic to Illegals on the DVD Rental shelf?
    It's really moving, and should be mandatory viewing in High Schools. When my kids were younger I took them on an extended mountain bike trip down the Yucatan, from Cancun to the Mosquito Coast of Honduras. My son was 15. We didn't meet ANY boys his age in Guatemala, and we spent a month there. They were all either in the Government Army or hiding out with the Guerillas.

    There's one scene in this film that serves as a metaphor for how those Central American refugees struggle to cope with modern life in the States. Overwhelmed by an American woman's Washer & Dryer, Rosa dries the clothes by laying them out in the sun...just like back home.

    Definitely make an attempt to see this movie, and punch in for the DVD release. ...more info
  • El Norte is a Must See Film
    El Norte is finally available again - & Wow, in a Deluxe 2 disc Director's Edition - with great supplemental information, directors commentary, & a Beautiful Criterion Collection Transfer! The Criterion Collection is the gold standard of "art films" - expensive, yes ... but the state of the art production values reserved for the World's Finest Films.

    Director Gregory Nava, Anna Thomas, their crew & the players out-did themselves on this film. Produced on an extremely modest budget (funded by American Playhouse for PBS) El Norte was so well received at the SUNDANCE Film Festival - that it was first released in Movie Theaters, it's PBS debut delayed by about a year. How often does that happen ... never (or there-abouts).

    El Norte is a beautiful & poignant human story.

    Who should see this film? Everyone.

    Vaya con Dios.
    JR

    ps. PG-13 is probably a reasonable viewing guide due to depictions of unfortunate & intense realities.


    ...more info
  • Wonderful movie, great on Blu-ray!
    Remembered watching this 10 years ago on VHS, really liked a lot because of the moving story and great actors. El Norte looks superior on Blu-ray! Must have for your Blu-ray collection....more info
  • El Norte on DVD
    Type in "El Norte DVD" into EBay and you will be able to find this film on DVD. ?Ten suerte!...more info
  • Illegal immigrants in the Promised Land. Eye opening!
    El Norte depicts the plight of a brother and sister. They are Mayan Indians living in Guatemala but after their father is murdered in a rebellion and their mother is arrested, they have to flee their country to save their lives. They are headed north, through Mexico and then on the United States, which, like so many immigrants before them, seems like the Promised Land of electricity, flush toilets and big cars.

    First they have to travel through Mexico and make believe they are Mexicans. When they finally get to Tijuana they have the difficult task of finding a way across the border without being robbed by the many unsavory characters who all compete for their small amount of money. Their first attempt ends in failure but eventually they make it by crawling on their hands and knees through a sewer pipe where they are attacked by rats. Once in Los Angeles their lives seem to improve, but they soon discover the reality of being illegal. This is not a happy story and the ending is sad and left me with a feeling of hopelessness.

    One of the most striking things about the film is its innocence. It certainly was filmed on a shoestring budget and has none of the special effects we've come to expect in Hollywood films. Sometimes it had the look and feel of an amateur production, the violence looked staged, the camera often focusing on a full moon rather than or more complex shots. The acting, however, was so good that I forgot they were acting and soon was completely involved in this very human story. It was plain and simple real life. And there was humor here too, especially when the young woman gets a maid's job and has to learn to use a washing machine. However, like real life, things don't always work out for the best.

    I guess I've always been aware of the plight of illegal immigrants. But I have never felt it more deeply than through this film. Highly recommended....more info

  • Heartrending, unforgettable film
    Two young and completely naive Guatemalan Indians are forced to flea their small village after their father is shot by government soldiers in a raid and their mother taken away.

    They make the trip north through Mexico to El Norte, the land of promise.

    This is a heartrending and unforgettable film, with occasional hilarity, of their journey and their life. Starting out simply you are soon completely drawn into their story, from the journey to their new life in San Diego as they attempt to adapt to El Norte, set in the larger context of the Latino and Mexican immigrant experience.

    I saw this film in its initial theatrical release in 1983, and a recent viewing reveals it has not dimmed. Its low budget origins are once or twice obvious, but are completely inconsequential for a film of this magnitude and quality.

    Nominated for the Best Screenplay in 1985. The first Oscar nomination for an independent film. Winner of numerous other awards. (And all this before Sundance and the plethora of festivals today.)

    Selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, 1995.

    The five star reviews here and at imdb.com are no accident.

    (It's completely scandalous that a DVD has not been officially available here in the US since forever. However, you can purchase one based on the Australian DVD release either here or on ebay that will play on US machines. Just make sure it's designated region 1.)...more info
  • One of the most important movies ever made.
    I couldn't believe this movie had only one review. It is so compelling.
    Charleen Merced wrote a review I cannot top. Please read hers. However, I give the movie a better rating because I think the movie is worth at least 4 1/2 stars. I'll bet she agrees.
    Charleen uses the term 'harrowing', and this movie is. The characters are broadly drawn and we see so many aspects of human nature.
    This film was one of the first Latin American films I ever watched. I've been in love with Latin films ever since. El Norte is incredibly powerful, and every Norteano ought to watch it.
    Roger Ebert's comment also nails this film....more info
  • Powerful, must see
    Some might be turned off by this film based on the subject matter, but this is honestly one of the most powerful films I have ever seen. I am so thankful it was finally re-released, and that it made its way on to DVD.
    This film gives a very real look at not only how illegal aliens from south of the USA border live, but a very real look at the practice of the Guatemalan military on the "naturales" of genocide. Having been to Guatemala on several occasions, I think of this movie everytime I am there. Do yourself a favor, and at least check this film out. It is somewhat dated, but still worth watching. I hope it is as powerful to you, as it was to me....more info
  • Harrowing, true and masterful depiction of a tragic journey
    "El Norte" is one of the most scarring, deep, and harrowing movies I have seen. The film was directed by Gregory Nava (Selena, Bordertown and wrote the screenplay for Frida). It received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. This movie was made in response to the large scale extermination and discrimination of the indigenous people in Guatemala which forced many of them into a large scale exiled to the North.

    The movie covers the plight of two young indigenous siblings (Zaide Silvia Guti¨¦rrez and David Villalpando) who must escape their native Guatemala because of persecution against the indigenous people. Their father was murdered, the mother "disappears" and soldiers round up various people in their village, all because they wanted to form a labor union. Fearing for their lives, the two young siblings decide to go North.

    Throughout the film we see the hard journey as they travel from Guatemala to the United States. They encounter poverty, blatant racism, discrimination, illness and death.

    The movie employs the surroundings as another character, showcasing the beautiful coffee fields of Guatemala in contrast with poverty-stricken Tijuana, Mexico and the arid California town where the poor and rich live in visibly divided class lines. The film also uses magical realism, a widely used and important literary mechanism (see One Hundred Years of Solitude, Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community), to show the influences of culture. Foreboding is also part of this film, as it comes full circle with repeated lines and images.

    The film is nothing less than masterful and I equal how I felt when I was done watching it as the same devastating, catatonic, unable-to-cry-cause-I-am-in-shock-feeling from when I saw Requiem for a Dream. The film is devastating, true, and uncompromising in its depiction of these two young siblings and their sad and tragic journey.

    It is one of the best and most realistic movies I have seen. There is a scene with rats when the siblings are crossing the US border. The actress, Zaide Silvia Gutierrez, insisted that she would do the scene herself with the rats. Nevermind that she had a phobia of rats. Such is the commitment of the writers (Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas), actors and director to this movie. It was something they believed in. It was a movie that is nothing less than excellent.
    ...more info
  • A Classic, plain and simple
    This is Gregory Nava's pinnacle work, and it's a triumph
    of style, emotion, atmosphere and apt symbolism.

    To think it was made on a shoestring
    betrays its epic scope.

    It is visually fascinating, the actors
    seem real and natural. The pace never lags.
    There is action, comedy, tragedy,
    suspense, horror, hope and wonder in this
    brother & sister odyssey-story.
    The film has heart without
    trying to be a tear-jerker.
    Sentimentality is adeptly avoided.

    Incredibly, nothing in this film
    is unrealistic--Many people have lived
    thru personal variations of this story
    in their own journeys to The North.

    Watch this film, be entertained,
    and, in the best cinematic sense,
    LEARN....more info
  • From Guatemala to a Land of... Hope?
    "El Norte" is the wrenching tale of a brother and sister from a little Mayan village, in the terrifying Guatemala of the 1980s. When their father is slain by the ubiquitous right-wing death squads of the era, the brother is targeted to be killed next. They must find a way out of the workers hell that their father had lost his life fighting to improve, which is to say, a place in which they are not considered human, but merely life-support systems for pairs of strong arms, to do heavy labor for the rich. They resolve, therefore, to flee together to "El Norte," (the north), to the United States of America, the incredible paradise that most of the people who will read this review have lived in for their (our) entire lives.

    To make this perilous journey, the brother and sister, Enrique and Rosa, must first travel through Mexico. This, in itself, is no slight ordeal. When they do arrive at the border to the United States, they must decide how to find a guide they can trust. A guide for crossing the border is called a "coyote." They have to choose a coyote who will not rob them. The characters are so trusting, and so innocent-looking, that your heart will really go out to them, as they attempt to negotiate these transactions with the vicious human predators who try to pass themselves off as legitimate coyotes.

    One of my favorite scenes occurs in this part of the film. They have an encounter with some US border guards, from the INS. The director apparently had a lot of fun, playing with sociolinguiistic issues, in this scene. Enrique and Rosa communicate with the border guards in Spanish, but confer with each other in a Mayan indian dialect, when they feel they might be getting bamboozled by the authorities. The border guards can't understand the obscure Mayan dialect, of course. They confer with each other in English, a language of which, at this point in the movie, Enrique and Rosa are completely ignorant. I should point out, perhaps, that there are always subtitles, in every scene.

    When Enrique wants to pretend that he is Mexican, in order not to fall afoul of certain US border quotas for refugees, he does this by livening up his Spanish with a torrent of curse words. I was not aware of this personally, but apparently, in Latin America, Mexicans are known for being particularly foul-mouthed.

    The director has more fun with language issues throughout the film. One example is a French restaurant in which Enrique gets a job, once they do arrive in Los Angeles. The menus are in French, the clientele is entirely English-speaking, and the waitstaff is entirely Spanish-speaking. I sensed that some entertaining scenes may have been edited out in this context, but the general idea is still interestingly presented.

    There is also a strong element of the distinctive Latin American storytelling technique of "magical realism." For other examples of this approach, I would like to recommend that you read "100 Years of Solitude," by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or "Aura," by Carlos Fuentes. There are many other books and films approached in this style -- those are just two of my personal favorites.

    But these are abstract, intellectual issues. The main strength of this film is the simple human warmth that you will feel for Enrique and Rosa. You want them to succeed so much! I kept thinking of some of my own ancestors, who sacrificed so much to come to America, and attempted to create a new life for their descendants. Enrique and Rosa are doing the same thing in the modern world, and you will be awed by what they will go through, to make it here. They must deal with sickness, without social security numbers; employment in the USA, with only rudimentary English language skills, (and no green cards); and the social mysteries of the subculture of Hispanic California, with all the unpredictable, arbitrary social hierarchies which exist there, and which they could not possibly have foreseen. Who can they trust? What will become of them? All we know is that, as long as they are in America, they will always be more than what they were back in Guatemala, which was nothing more than pairs of strong arms to do labor for the rich. At least, in the Land of Opportunity, they will be given credit for their basic humanity... right?

    I would also like to let you know, whoever reads this, that this film is also intelligently discussed on the non-profit website imdb.com, which often links to Amazon.com products. This website is for the Internet Movie Database. You can learn more there about this film, by searching for it in the title field near the upper left hand corner of the imdb.com screen. If you take a moment to do this, I would like to encourage you to look through the comments, which you can link to from near the bottom of the first screen that comes up for this film. On September 1, 1999, the actor who played Enrique posted his own personal review of this film! His name is David Villalpando, and his review contains many thoughts which, I hope, may encourage you to purchase this terrific film....more info
  • Harrowing, true and masterful depiction of a tragic journey
    "El Norte" is one of the most scarring, deep, and harrowing movies I have seen. The film was directed by Gregory Nava [...] and wrote the screenplay for [...]. It received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. This movie was made in response to the large scale extermination and discrimination of the indigenous people in Guatemala which forced many of them into a large scale exiled to the North.

    The movie covers the plight of two young indigenous siblings (Zaide Silvia Guti¨¦rrez and David Villalpando) who must escape their native Guatemala because of persecution against the indigenous people. Their father was murdered, the mother "disappears" and soldiers round up various people in their village, all because they wanted to form a labor union. Fearing for their lives, the two young siblings decide to go North.

    Throughout the film we see the hard journey as they travel from Guatemala to the United States. They encounter poverty, blatant racism, discrimination, illness and death.

    The movie employs the surroundings as another character, showcasing the beautiful coffee fields of Guatemala in contrast with poverty-stricken Tijuana, Mexico and the arid California town where the poor and rich live in visibly divided class lines. The film also uses magical realism, a widely used and important literary mechanism [...], to show the influences of culture. Foreboding is also part of this film, as it comes full circle with repeated lines and images.

    The film is nothing less than masterful and I equal how I felt when I was done watching it as the same devastating, catatonic, unable-to-cry-cause-I-am-in-shock-feeling from when I saw [...].

    It is one of the best and most realistic movies I have seen. There is a scene with rats when the siblings are crossing the US border. The actress, Zaide Silvia Gutierrez, insisted that she would do the scene herself with the rats. Nevermind that she had a phobia of rats. Such is the commitment of the writers (Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas), actors and director to this movie. It was something they believed in. It was a movie that is nothing less than excellent.
    ...more info
  • Unforgettable, life changing experience to watch
    I first saw this movie back in 1984. The following years I shared it with everybody who came to my house; my friends, my family, my co-workers... until my VHS disappeared! By then, I couldn't find it in stores anymore. However; I was never able to forget about that movie and now that I have two teenager children, I want to share that movie with them too! I'm looking forward to buy it in DVD and, all I can say is, if you have never seen this movie... YOU HAVE TO SEE IT, it will change the way you feel about those human beings labeled as "Illegal Aliens"....more info
  • a stunningly great film
    This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

    El Norte (The North) is a film about the plight of two Guatemalan siblings.

    Members of their family are kidnapped and murdered by the army because they are Native Americans and they decide to flee to the United States.

    I don't want to say anything else about the plot but encourage people to watch the film.

    This long awaited DVD edition comes after the film has been out of print for years. This a two disc set and contains some good supplements.

    Disc one contains the film with the theatrical trailer and optional commentary by director Gregory Nava.

    Disc two contains interviews with the filmmakers, a gallery of location scouting photos, and Nava's student film, The Journal of Diego Rodriguez Silva.

    The interviews mention the film's relevance today with the controversy about what to do about the millions of illegal aliens living in the United States.

    The film puts a human side to show how much people are willing to risk to sneak into the United States and has made me more sympathetic to those who come here to find work....more info
  • excellent film
    i loved this movie. the scenes of central americal were beautiful. the story of rosa & enrique is so poignant. the way the movie was divided into 3 parts was interesting. it was my all-time favorite movie for years (my family makes fun of me for making the ALL watch it, when it was on the depressing side) - bumped to 2nd by Cinema Paradiso. still, i MUST have el norte on dvd!...more info
  • One of the all-time great movies
    It is hard to believe that this remarkable movie is out-of-print. I have a VHS copy of it that I taped off the air when PBS broadcast the movie around 1986. It's watchable, and far better than nothing, but I would love to obtain a high-quality copy. The movie is a tragedy, of course, but also, at times, a comedy. I laugh when Nacha (the older Mexican woman who befriends Rosa) tries to explain to Rosa that it's safe, in terms of being turned in for deportation, to take ESL classes. Rosa thinks that the government would just want to be rid of illegals like her, so why would they sponsor ESL classes? It seems contradictory. Nacha cautions Rosa not to try to figure out why "gringos" do the things they do -- it will only drive them nuts (g). But, in fact, the mixed message that American society sends about illegal immigrants is unmistakable, and the movie does an excellent job of weaving this into the plot. The guy that runs the motel where Enrique and Rosa live tells the "coyote" who helped bring them over the border, and I'm paraphrasing, "The American economy would collapse if you and I weren't working so hard to bring in and support all this cheap labor." We need the illegals here, to do the dirty and often dangerous work that most legal citizens won't touch, and yet we ~say~ we don't want the illegals here. But the movie never strikes me as polemical on this topic. As downbeat as the ending is, my sense is that Enrique will retain his hope for life. It reminds me a little of the downbeat ending of The Grapes of Wrath (the book, not the movie). Enrique chooses life (by not taking the job in Chicago, by staying with Rosa) and his reward shall not be taken from him....more info
  • El Norte es muy fabuloso!!!
    This film is GREAT!! Amazon, PLEASE get it on DVD soon! I need some good educational films. Of course those are the only types of films I will buy these days. I would love to include this DVD in my personal collection! I watched it in my spanish one class in college and it really opened my eyes. It is a tearjerker, a comedy, a documentary, a horror film, and an educational film all in one (even more than that)! I have been waiting to order this film on DVD forever, when will you have it, Amazon?

    For those of you who have not seen it, it is about a brother and a sister from I think it is Guatemala...I am not sure...it has been so long since I have seen it...and their family is killed because the government suspects their family of plotting against it. The brother and sister (Rosa and Enrique) end up surviving and decide to sneak off to America because they have heard Americans are free and they know they will be safe from being killed by the Government of Mexico if they are in another country (America). In Los Angeles, they get jobs and witness the competition of working in America, the English language, a total difference in culture, racism, immigration officials, the cold-heartedness of work life in America, etc. In this movie, viewers are shown the difference between the culture of south mexico and the culture of America in Las Angeles. This movie will make any American question the concept of "freedom"?...more info

  • Magical Filmwork of Real Immigrant Drama = Myth Experience
    This great work is finally getting exposure. The beauty of Guatemala, the draw of the Mythical North, the pain of migration, a small cast of great appeal, lovely music, great direction of an inspired script. A whole new perspective and moving experience in a film so real and artistic.. I'm not not kidding! See this and experience art of film entertainingly showing yearning and stuggle, in a modern style and setting. Lovely and painful. It should alter your mind. BD A/V great...more info
  • One of the most unique films made
    This is an excellent movie. Has humor but is mostly drama -- showing the struggles of illegal immigrants in Los Angeles.

    Is in Spanish with English subtitles, so it's better if you are bilingual or don't mind reading subtitles. Very well directed. The scene in the sewer with the rats was so well done that S. Spielberg contacted the director to ask how they did it.

    A sad but thought provoking ending....more info
  • A Moving Film
    Gregory Nava's moving film on the plight of Latin American immigrants who are forced to leave their country and decide to go to America to fulfill their dreams. A drama with an intricate screenplay, a good script, as well as good acting.

    The film follows the journey of a brother and sister, Enrique and Rosa, who must flee from Guatemala and the persecutions of farmers/indians by the paramilitary death squads who killed their father. Enthralled at their aunt's collection of Western magazines depicting fashionable people, cars, and appliances, Enrique and Rosa dream of how happy they will be once they arrive in El Norte (i.e. U.S.A.) They soon realize that life is as much a nightmare as it is a pleasant dream and, that making a living in El Norte isn't as easy as they had once thought. Each continue their existence doing menial jobs typical of illegal immigrants: restaurant bus-boy and house maid. In time, Enrique is close to getting his green card but is soon forced to make very difficult choices.

    This is an excellent film that accurately portrays how many in Latin America view the United States and why they choose to move there in hope of a better future. The film's intensity is touching as it is realistic. A great film....more info