El Norte

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Forbidden Lives
The movie El Norte is a sad story about a brother and a sister -- Rosa and Enrique from Guatemala and their struggle of getting out of ethnically and politically repressed Guatemala and trying to fit into American society and fulfilling their dream – the American Dream. On the other hand, this movie is a great depiction of the struggle faced by many people from Central and South America who are trying to get inside the United States.

The main reason for Enrique and Rosa coming to the United States is that they can no longer stay alive in their village; they have no choice other than leaving Guatemala. Their father Arturo is a simple peasant who picks coffee for a living, and their mother is a housekeeper. Since Guatemala is governed by corrupted military, simple people have no rights and often live in very poor conditions. In fact, simple people are almost completely dependent upon the rich. Arturo joins a group of people to form something like a labor union, but they are all betrayed by a member, so Arturo and others are killed and Arturo's wife "disappears." Since Enrique and Rosa are the children, the military is also hunting for them. Some time ago Enrique and Rosa's godmother told them about the rich and easy life in "El Norte" or the North, meaning the United States. She has some Good Housekeeping journals from the states that seem very inspiring for the teenagers. Rosa and Enrique don't have much of a choice about staying in their town. If they stay, they will definitely be found by the military at some point and killed just like their parents. Enrique and Rosa travel a long and harsh way from Guatemala to Mexico, and from there they go through a rat-filled sewer pipe to cross the Mexican-American border. This is very difficult for them, but they have no other choice.

To be able to fit in American society, both of them have to change their lifestyles completely. One of the minor things they have to get rid of is their Indian way of...
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