In 2006, Rebecca Cammisa received a Fulbright Scholar Grant to travel to Mexico to document the plight of the 100,000 children left behind when their families travel to the United States to find work. This Oscar-nominated film is the result of her journey. Cammisa and her crew follow a trio of children who set out on their own from their Latin American abodes on a dangerous trek through Mexico en route to the U.S. border and — they hope — their families’ embrace. The stories follow these children as they use the freight trains to travel northwards over a couple thousand miles. This very well-told story is highly recommended. I did not dream that this many courageous kids would take off from all they know, no matter how bad it is, to pursue a better life for themselves and their family. And I never imagined so many people hanging off freight trains and risking their lives for what they believe that the United States has to offer. In spite of our current economic conditions and political turmoil, they still risk everything for life here. I oftentimes forget how small my problems really are. These kids are unbelievable. I never knew about these train kids before now. I found it very enjoyable to see individuals and groups along the route offer to feed and clothe these kids along a journey they don’t stand the greatest of chances of living though, even with the help they receive along the way. The documentary follows a few children, some as young as nine, as they ride The Beast – the trains that maim so many of them — in a usually futile effort to reunite with their mother, their father, their sisters and brothers living in the US. Or to find work that lets them eat. Riding trains won’t change the profound poverty and hopelessness that drive children – CHILDREN – from their homelands in Central America. But this film can awaken us to the slum planet that makes them leave a home that cannot feed or educate them, to search for a dream in a country that doesn’t want them. I lost it when they interviewed the little boy that hasn’t seen his mom and dad for three years. No child should ever suffer through that, no one. I know immigration is a complicated subject with many mixed feelings. I think people lack understanding of what drives most people to want to come to the United States. For those of us born in this country we are already engraved into thinking we are going to have the “American Dream.” But these immigrant kids are looking for a better way to survive. I think this documentary shows us that other people are just looking for a better life, just like most of us here are trying for as well. This was a heartbreaking documentary — the courage of these children to hold on to a dream is amazing. I know many people who are handed everything in life and couldn’t do what some kids in this film had the guts to do. This deceptively simple film delivers a high-impact blow to the heart. I admit to being rather closed to the notion of others coming into my country. This superbly-made film strongly challenges my limited view. This film is amazing and a good eye-opener to anyone who wants to know one of the struggles that immigrants face when coming to the “Land of Dreams.” They need to show this film to all the people that do not understand why immigrants want to come to this country — and to those who take living in the United States for granted. May every soul who sees this have a change of heart for those who come to the U.S illegally! They mean no harm, they don’t come here to take others job intentionally, but to better their lives. Wow! It was a real eye opener for me. Don’t miss this beautiful, moving film! Documentary 2007 NR 83 minutes.
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