Every film I watched depicted issues like crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, adjusting to a new lifestyle and a new culture, the hardships of U.S. life, or something of that matter. I even had the chance to conduct a few student and professor interviews to shed light on the crossing of borders and film as well. I really think I learned a lot about different types of people and their lifestyles through my research, writing and blogging, and for that, I am truly grateful.
Over the past few months, I watched films that I don’t think I would have watched in a million years if it weren’t for Border Beat. I would have never walked into Casa Video to seek out foreign films nor search the Internet for fun border movies. Living in Tucson for the greater part of my life, this may seem odd. But for some reason, border films never clicked with me. Then, my best friend who studies international law in Washington D.C. took a Latin American film class and loved it. And when Professor Rochlin told us to pick a topic to blog about this semester, it seemed like a perfect fit.
Now, I’ve seen movies such as “Sin Nombre,” “La Misma Luna,” “Sin Dejar Huella” or even “Babel” which stars celebrities like Brad Pitt. These are titles I would’ve normally scrolled right past on Netflix and not think twice about.
Now, I find myself scrolling for these kinds of movies. I look at the recommendations listed next to each border movie I watch. I will click links from site to site to see if there are any other types of movies that I’d find interesting. I’ve come to love border issues depicted in film.
I also had a chance to watch both movies and documentaries, produced and directed by Americans and by Mexicans. I learned about the emotional plights of immigrants headed to El Norte, I learned about young children who travel by train and the types of navigating they must do, and I learned about la migra and Mexican laws. Heck, I even learned about U.S. laws concerning immigration and deportation that I never even knew existed. As a viewer, you see the physically exhausting experiences migrants encounter and you see how the Border Patrol can act. You see how different families are in U.S. culture and Hispanic cultures. By watching films, you really get a chance to experience something out of your comfort zone. It’s something that may be Hollywood-produced, but something that is very real to a lot of people.
Having the opportunity to chat with history and Latin American professors about the border and relevant films was a great experience. They had their own insights on different movies and led me to conduct some interviews and research on the Tucson Cine Mexico, an annual Tucson film festival. I ended up writing a story on that as well.
I’m really happy that Border Beat gave me the chance to try something new. I would have never thought to watch border films prior to the class, but now that I’ve seen a few and have learned more about the issues surrounding the border, I have a feeling that these types of movies will be in my queue in the future.
The Border Beat class really opened my eyes to the types of stories that a journalist can write regarding borders. I wrote stories on the TUSD’s Mexican-American Studies program, the University of Arizona’s Eller ARC organization, the Tucson food truck roundup, and the plight of a Vietnamese couple traveling to the U.S. It’s been fun writing about such diverse subjects that all happen to be related in a unique way, and I know I’m going to miss the class.