LatinaLista — Listening to Congress debate how to reform immigration, it doesn’t take long to figure out that those who are opposed to any kind of reform or legalization of the 11 million undocumented immigrants are individuals who have refused to accept the fact that immigrants are real people. Some U.S. politicians prefer to live in a self-induced bubble and refuse to understand the motivation of immigrants who have made and are still making the dangerous trek across the U.S.-Mexico border.
An award-winning documentary strives to dissect the politics out of the immigration debate. Purgatorio, by Mexican-born filmmaker Rodrigo Reyes, presents an image of the border that goes beyond just the fence.
Asked to describe his film in 140 characters, Rodrigo replied, “Purgatorio is a brutal, poetic and nakedly human experience of the US-Mexico border.”
Others describe it as:
Director Rodrigo Reyes takes a fresh look at the border between Mexico and the US, focusing on the striking imagery of the place and the people who play out their roles there, much like characters in a theater of cruelty. Leaving politics aside, he gives a voice to aspiring immigrants, an American coroner, a man of God who leaves water and food in the desert, the souls living and dying in border towns, and even a Minuteman going about his business of foiling the people trying to cross. Putting the physical presence and brutal beauty of the border itself front and center, Purgatorio re-imagines it as a mythical place comparable to “the unending road” of purgatory as described by Dante.
For now, the border is a type of purgatory where immigrants wait, most times in suffering conditions until they can reunite with their families — on either side of the border.