American Dream – Review by Gursimran Datla

americandream-752x440.jpgAmerican Dream
Documentary – 78:09 min – United States
Fri. July 7 – 1:45 PM
ReelHEArt Film Festival, Toronto

Those who leave
Those who remain
Together, bound by our breaths
We are
In our own homes.
We are

“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 got corrupt. They hold the burden of the greatness of their history and their sacred texts and more than that, they are now under the rule of organized gangs and criminal elites.

Directed by Joel N Clark, award-winning director, “American Dream” portrays lives of realistic immigrants and the unrealistic immigration procedures on Texas-Mexican Border.

America nourished and flourished by so many different cultures and traditions is a Refuge for so many immigrants coming via Mexican borders. “American Dream” is a cathartic yet sublime depiction of 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 took us to the various regions of Latin America like Honduras, El Salvador And Mexico, introduced us to the people on the verge of crossing border as well as those, who successfully crossed borders but now categorized as “Undocumented”.

The film is about four different lives, trying to cross Mexican border with one dream i.e. to reach America. For the hope of 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 extortions of criminal gangs. El Salvador, also known as ‘murder capital of the world’ where 20 % of its population now migrated to America due to the high rate of crime and violence.

Meanwhile, the family members of those undocumented immigrants seek arms of the children, of their mothers to hold them and hug them.

What kind of world we have built where we tore apart the families. Where earning basic necessities become the ultimate goal of life. Filmmaker, also follow the Journey of ‘Sonja’, a 7 month pregnant, all she wants her child to be born in America.

“American Dream” is well shot with interesting perspectives, is well edited and juxtaposed with all different story-lines, accumulates to one goal of that is American Dream.

Sometimes it feels like if the filmmaker romanticizes the America and its name, but he also explores a narrative of a police officer in Texas, who was once an immigrant himself, and now living a better life with his family and serving 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 compile her journey in two sentences – ‘All I see is walls around me. All we do is work and sleep’.

This film makes you a bit more good human. It sensitizes you with journeys and fears of some migrant people and surprisingly you will find that they are 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

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