2009, Movies

Which Way Home (2009, Rebecca Cammisa)

This is a heart-wrenching documentary about tweenage, teenage and child migrants trying to find their way by train to the United States from Central America because their parents cannot support them. It is extremely affecting and parts of it are hard to watch.

I think it’s a wise decision to focus on one very specific aspect of Latin American immigration as it would be easy to take on too much. By focusing on just young migrants who take the train through Mexico, the film highlights one part of this dangerous, difficult decision and journey.

At some level, I know trains are dangerous. But I guess I didn’t fully appreciate how dangerous trains are. The people in the film all say they know how dangerous trains are, but that doesn’t really come through to the view until one particular scene, which is just heart-breaking. I won’t tell you what you see, but it is pretty awful. It’s not something I would have thought happened much any more, but of course all of these people are riding the train illegally.

The focus on the these brave, desperate children really makes everything hit home. It’s hard to imagine, having to do something like this, and it’s just about impossible for someone as privileged as me to truly imagine having to do this.

I do think the film is a bit messy. It seems like they just went out and found some children riding trains, which is I guess how you would go about it, and then whatever happened happened. And that’s probably how you have to make something like this. But they do just fly in and out of various journeys. Also, watching this film 15 years later it kind of looks like shit, despite the stunning scenery from the top of the train.

But I think this is the kind of film that everyone needs to watch, especially those people who demand we be strict on refugees (and especially those who do not live near the US-Mexican border and yet still have extremely strong opinions). There’s nothing like a film documenting child migrants to humanize migration.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.