Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A different view of immigration in Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera's THE INFILTRATORS

TrustMovies admits that he went into his viewing of THE INFILTRATORS with his usual mixed feelings regarding illegal immigrants: Yes, it's a problem when people are here illegally, but if they and their families are threatened with major abuses should they return to their home country, ought we not take this into account and help them?

So, the first few minutes of this new hybrid documentary by Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera (shown below, left and right, respectively) -- which tells an absolutely real story about actual characters but with the major portion devoted to actors in a totally narrative version of events -- left me with back-and-forth, positive/negative reactions. By film's finale, however, I was indiscriminately cheering for these "undocumented" men and women.

In retrospect -- two days have passed since I viewed the film -- I find myself still very impressed with the story told here, as well as the characters we meet in it, even if I have to admit that it is the truly bizarre yet quite heroic situation that our leading characters willingly place themselves in that both engulfed and impressed me most.

These young people, Marco (played by actor Maynor Alvarado in the narrative portion, above) and Viri (actress Chelsea Rendon in the narrative portion, below, left) are members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical DREAMers whose mission it is to stop unjust deportations. In order do this most efficiently and with the best results, these two -- already illegal and "deportable" -- get themselves tossed into the Broward Transitional Center, a detention facility used as a holding space for imminent deportations.

Once inside, they begin their education of the other prisoners regarding how best to ensure their non-deportation and even their chance to get out and rejoin their families. This takes the kind of courage and selflessness that ordinary U.S. citizens seldom ever see or experience--let alone possess. The Infiltrators' great strength comes from allowing us to take part in this, as Marco especially and Viri (later in the film) learn how to get this job done without themselves being exposed as "plants" and/or then being deported.

The movie often has the feel of a suspense thriller -- particularly one scene in which the cleaning-crew prisoners enable necessary paperwork and information to make its way both into and out of the prison -- and if, in retrospect, the film also seems a little fudgy with its facts, along with how easy it was to manage all this, trust me, you'll still be hooked.

The Dream Act and those Dreamers were in the news a lot during the first portion of Donald Trump's abominable Presidency, but they have fallen out of the news of late. This most interesting and important movie should bring them back into notice, as well as helping force us citizens to look at immigration/deportation (and all that goes with it) through a wider perspective and with more open eyes.

The Infiltrators, distributed by Oscilloscope Films, opens here in South Florida -- where this all took place (and is still taking place) -- this Friday, March 20, in Miami at the Silverspot Cinema and AMC Sunset Place, in Fort Lauderdale at The Classic Gateway Theatre, and the Living Room Theatres, Boca Raton. Click here and then click on FIND THEATERS to view the dozen-or-so currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters around the country.
Whoops -- with movie theaters closing 
left and right around the country, 
thanks to the current Corona virus, 
who knows where or when this film will actually open. 
If I find out later, I will update this post....

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