For – ReelHeart International Film and Screenplay Festival, Canada
Based on – ‘American Dream’- USA Running time – 1hr19min (Documentary)
Directed by Joel N Clark
Those who leave
Those who remain
Together, bound by our breaths
In our own homes.
American Dream one of the primary documentaries based on the post-Trump era, draws a raw, organic look into the journeys of undocumented citizens and their dangerous crossing attempts through Texas from the Mexico border. Now, when we are on the move, our ancient lands have become corrupt. They hold the burden of the greatness of their history and their sacred texts. More than that, however, they are now under the rule of organized gangs and criminal elites.
Directed by award-winning director Joel N Clark, American Dream portrays lives of realistic immigrants and the unrealistic immigration procedures at the Texas-Mexico Border. America, which has been nourished and flourished by so many different cultures and traditions, is a refuge for many immigrants coming via Mexican borders. American Dream is a cathartic yet sublime depiction of the universal problem of migrations, its reasons, effects, and results.
Without wasting a single minute on establishing the narrative, the film opens directly to the point and takes us to various regions of Latin America such as Honduras, El Salvador And MexicoIt introduces us to people on the verge of crossing border as well as those who successfully crossed the border but are now categorized as “Undocumented.”
The film is about four different lives with one dream — to reach America; for the hope of a better future, a better life for themselves as well as their family.
As the film unfolds, it reveals the major problem with migration, which is not just economic crises, but also the extreme violence and extortion tactics of criminal gangs. El Salvador is commonly known as the murder capital of the world, where 20 per cent of its population has migrated to America due to the high rate of crime and violence. Meanwhile, the family members of those undocumented immigrants seek the arms of the children, of their mothers, to hold and hug them.
What kind of world we have built where we have torn families apart? Where earning basic necessities becomes the ultimate goal of life. Clark also follows the Journey of Sonja, a 7-month pregnant woman. All she wants is for her child to be born in America.
American Dream is shot BEAUTIFULLY/CAREFULLY/ASSIDUOUSLY with interesting perspectives and is edited proficiently. It juxtaposes all the different storylines that cumulate to one goal: the American Dream.
Sometimes it feels as if the filmmaker romanticizes America and its name. But he also explores a narrative of a police officer in Texas, who was once an immigrant himself, and is now living a better life with his family as well as serving the country. In totality, the journey is hard. Life is not easy but we can’t afford to stop. Yomi, a Mexican immigrant, who is living in Austin, Texas as an undocumented migrant compiles her journey in two sentences:“All I see is walls around me. All we do is work and sleep.”
This film makes you a slightly better human. It sensitizes you with journeys and fears of some migrant people. You may be surprised to find that these migrants are, in fact,very similar to you. We are on a journey and this world is a playground. Let’s celebrate our souls and vulnerabilities of being on this beautiful, and one and only planet.
Gursimran Datla @gursimrandatla