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The Short Life of Jose Antonio Gutierrez
The Short Life of Jose Antonio Gutierrez
Actors: Patrick Atkinson, Fabian Giron, Veronica Morales, Engracia Gutierrez, Wendy Perlera
Director: Heidi Specogna
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Documentary
NR     2007     1hr 29min


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Movie Details

Actors: Patrick Atkinson, Fabian Giron, Veronica Morales, Engracia Gutierrez, Wendy Perlera
Director: Heidi Specogna
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll, Educational, Military & War
Studio: Atopia
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/25/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 29min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, German, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Sad story of US hegemony & militarism
Preston C. Enright | Denver, CO United States | 01/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The Short Life of Jose Antonio Gutierrez" is a story that every U.S. citizen should learn. We like to view ourselves as the liberators of the world, spreading democracy and loved by all. Oftentimes, we cite the large numbers of immigrants coming here as evidence of our glory; but rarely do we take a close look as to why so many countries are experiencing economic problems or military conflicts. This documentary (made in Europe) takes a look at why a person like Gutierrez was living on the streets of Guatemala City, and how he ended up serving in the forces of the world's hyperpower. The film talks about U.S. involvement in Guatemala's war, which killed over 200,000 people, traumatized countless others, and empowered a wealthy elite that runs the country in the interests of corporate fundamentalists. Another documentary When the Mountains Tremble provides a more detailed look at the horror of the proxy war the U.S. waged in Guatemala. The war shattered Jose's family, and he ended up in an orphanage. He eventually made his way to the U.S., not because he thought it was such a wonderful country, but he recognized there are opportunities there to escape the difficult situation that wealthy nations have created throughout the Global South. As with many young people without much money, Jose saw the military as a vehicle to provide money for college. In addition to that, the Bush administration offered a more rapid process to become citizens if immigrants joined the military. Hence, there are over 30,000 non-U.S. citizens serving in the U.S. military, and even more serving in U.S. based private military companies like Blackwater Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.
This film raises many topics - U.S. foreign policy, immigration, the war on Iraq - and puts a literal human face on them in a very thoughtful, humane way. We also see how the military becomes a sort of family and identity for people who find themselves alone or financially insecure.
War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning
Jose ended up being the first U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, and the U.S. media used his death to score PR points for its unjust war. This film provides the nuance of Jose's story, and reaffirms the desperate need we have to escape the grip of what Martin Luther King called the "giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism.""
"The Short Life of Jose Antonio Gutierrez"
Loren Drzal | Lexington, Kentucky | 04/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The life of Jose Antonio Gutierrez is used as the backdrop for this well-researched documentary that explores complex issues and realities most American's have little awareness of. Among them are: immigration, genocide, street children, poverty, green card soldiers and our involvement in other lands. The film is provocative, emotional, at times, and beautifully constructed. Can an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala become an American war hero? You decide."
Jose Antonio: An ordinary child who never gave up
Patrick J. Atkinson | Bismarck, ND United States | 05/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As a young boy straight from the streets and government orphanage, Jose Antonio was a frightened, ordinary boy who had a dream of belonging to a family. He never lost that dream, up until the day that he lost his life. You can read more about Jose Antonio's life, and how he grew up during Guatemala's violent "war years", in Monica Hannan's book, The Dream Maker

Jose Antonio's life should not be forgotten, and this video does a great job telling who the real Jose Antonio was. His is an example of the classic, struggling young person who refused to give up."