Search - National Geographic - Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary on DVD


National Geographic - Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary
National Geographic - Wetback The Undocumented Documentary
Director: Arturo Perez Torres
Genres: Indie & Art House, Television, Educational, Documentary
NR     2007     1hr 30min

Chronicles the difficult and dangerous journey faced by immigrants as they make their way to the United States illegally from Central America and Mexico.

     
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Movie Details

Director: Arturo Perez Torres
Creators: Felipe Rodriguez, Julia Blua, Heather Haynes
Genres: Indie & Art House, Television, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Television, Educational, Documentary
Studio: Nat'l Geographic Vid
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 02/06/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/2006
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A humanity film...
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 04/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary is an astoundingly well put together documentary of the lives of people who risk their lives just to survive in this world. As many people know, life in Central America, Mexico and many other countries is exceptionally difficult. Because of near starvation families in these countries must decide if they wish one of their younger men to make the remarkably dangerous journey to the United States in search of money to send back home.

I must admit I never knew the extent of the dangers these immigrants face. Even if they are successful, they must practically cheat death several times during their journey. Particularly in Mexico this film shows us how immigrants are not just treated like animals--indeed, they are raped, robbed of all their money and even killed if their captors just happen to feel like killing them.

Wetback proves that these immigrants, legal or not, are truly desperate to find a better way of life instead of starvation and poverty in their native lands. We learn that these people, men and women, don't want to be in the United States any more than some Americans want them out! They know they must stay so that their family members back home must survive.

For a particularly dramatic effect the documentary Wetback films the hazardous trip of two young men from Central America on their way to the states. We hear them tell their stories when they stop at "safe houses" in Mexico and other countries on their way. These "safe houses" are run by the local Catholic Churches; but unfortunately they are so crowded that these immigrants can only stay an average of three days.

I was struck by just how hard it is for an illegal immigrant to cross the Rio Grande River from Mexico into the USA. They practically have to strip naked and swim across the river while their meager possessions float behind them in a black plastic bag. I presume that they seal off their clothing in the plastic bag to keep it dry; it didn't look like a workable life support device.

Of course, we also get an even better understanding of the complex situation when the director films some of the people in Arizona who live near the Rio Grande River and who want to keep these immigrants out. The commentary these local townsfolk provide is fascinating although I can't say I agreed with what they said. I commend the director for being as neutral as possible about the political situation.

There is one extra on this DVD worth watching but it is very brief. There is a brief interview with director Arturo Perez Torres; he expresses his view that this is a human situation and that as human beings we must all treat each other with more respect and dignity. I think that he simplifies the situation somewhat but he does have a good point.

In short, Wetback is an educational and fascinating close up look at the people who bravely risk their lives--everything--to live the American Dream and make their families back home have clothing and food to eat. I highly recommend this documentary for people who wish to study immigration issues.
"
Humanizes scapegoats of corporatism
Preston C. Enright | Denver, CO United States | 02/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Economic policies emanating from D.C. and Wall Street have been a catastrophe for much of the world's population, here and abroad. Under the so-called "free" trade policies pushed by various administrations and authors like Thomas Friedman, workers have lost job security, pensions, union support and much else. In Mexico, highly subsidized corn from agribusiness firms like Cargill have flooded markets and destroyed the livlihoods of small Mexican farmers. Our corporate media usually avoids challenging this country's power elite, so instead they direct people's anger towards scapegoats. Undocumented immigrants have been one of the targets of a vicious campaign of caricature and dehumanization. This film does a lot to put a human face on the struggles of undocumented economic refugees.
So much mud has been thrown at immigrants that it would take several films to deconstruct it all, but "Wetback" is a good beginning. For further political, economic and historical context of the complex issue of immigration, I'd also recommend:
"They Take Our Jobs!": and 20 Other Myths about Immigration
The Fourth World War
Colorlines
No One Is Illegal: Fighting Violence and State Repression on the U.S.-Mexico Border"
An eye-opening experience for Undergraduate students
Eve Veliz | Rhode Island | 08/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This documentary takes a frank and at times, graphic look at the indignities that men and women have to endure in their quest for the American Dream. After this film many will think hard and deeply about how they treat their fellow man and their own stereotypes. A must see for any class that deals with immigration."
Wetback - Inside The Journey Over Multiple Borders
northhollywoodbookfan | los angeles | 07/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I found 'Wetback' to be an emotional and thought-provoking documentary. However, if you plan on showing this video as part of a middle or secondary-school lesson plan, be forewarned that there is brief male nudity.

The filmmaker did an excellent job with stunning imagery. At one point, a series of still photographs are shown, every picture revealing a single or double-amputee, left this way after falling or being pushed off the top of a moving freight train by bandits in Mexico that prey on illegal migrants who are crossing the border from Central America.

I recommend this DVD.


"