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    Documentary Summary – Crossing Over Essay

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    “A few minutes later, a middle-aged man sits down in front of the steering wheel of the car where Xochimilco and I are waiting. Without saying a word, he starts the motor and we pull off. ” (P. 14) This is what Ramon “Tianguis” Perez states at the end of “From Diary of an Undocumented Immigrant”. In the reading the main character Martin is on the way to the United States as a wetback under the coyote’s help.

    At that time his heart is filled with bright hope for this trip. In his mind America is a perfect country. There he will earn a lot of money and get a good new life. After reading this text, I thought of a movie I saw before, which has a similar theme that people should fight for their dreams. Compared to the reading, I think the way that the movie states the theme is more efficiently, because of following reasons.

    At first they both talk about the illegal immigrants in the United States. However, compared to the reading that describes how the immigrants go to America, the movie focuses how they live and struggle to achieve legal status after coming to America. So I think that the movie can be the continuance of the reading. It gives audience an ending about the immigration.

    Second the movie chooses a better view to tell the story than the reading. In the reading, the protagonist (author), himself is an immigrant. So he as a first person narrator tells the story from his memory. We as the audience can observe intuitively what he thinks about during the story and what he does for going to the United States.

    In contrast, the film uses the third person narrator to display immigrants’ life. The protagonist Max Brogan is an immigration officer. He is a spectator for the immigration. The movie just uses his eyes to show the audience what’s happening about the illegal immigration.

    He looks like a member of the audiences, but the difference is that he is in the story, and the audience just sits in the cinema to watch. So he is closer to the audience. His thought for the immigration is more objective. His performance in the film is more acceptable for the audience as well. For example when he decides to accept Mireya Sanchez’s (a Mexican wetback) begging to bring her son to her parents in Mexico, I definitely can understand his thinking that he sympathize with Mireya.

    So as an audience I prefer the movie because it represent theme more objective. Besides the narrator, the more important reason I think the movie states more efficiently is that it uses symbolism to represent the different kinds of immigrants in the United States. In the reading the author spends most time telling his experience during the trip. It just is a one person’s story. The goal of protagonist, America, just exists in others’ description.

    For Martin himself, America is a place in his dream, but he has not seen in the reality. However the movie is composed by five immigrants’ story. The protagonist Max Brogan just is a person who connects these five stories. These five small stories have happy ending and sad ending as well. The movie uses five persons’ lives to symbolize five kinds of immigrants’ lives in the United States.

    There are single mother, children, teenager, and old people. For example Taslima Jahangir and Yong Kim are both brought to the United States by their parents. They both do not like America and miss their homelands. They have so many similarities between them, but they have totally different end.

    Taslima is forced to leave America for Bangladesh and separated with her family. Kim successfully becomes an American citizen and starts a new life. They symbolize the immigrant children in America. Compared to the reading, the movie the bright lives of America while it shows the dark lives as well.

    The United States is cruel. Actually the reality is like that as well. The NYtimes has been reported, “There were 463 deaths in the past fiscal year, which ended Sept. 0 – the equivalent of about five migrants dying every four days, according to an analysis by the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights group. ” The United States is not a heaven that is full of money and gold like others describe in the reading. So when supporting the theme that people should fight for their dreams, the movie gives more possibilities of people’s ending.

    If I say that the reading gives audience encouragement to go to the United States, the movie gives encouragement while it gives ideas to think about whether it is worth to go. So the way movie states the theme is more comprehensive. For the reading and movie, I also interviewed my classmate Roland to ask what he think about the way that the theme is represented between the movie and reading. He said, “The movie and the reading both state the theme efficiently, but the movie has its natural advantage that it can be seen and heard. However the reading just only can be seen or read.

    The audience only can image what’s happening in his/her mind. The movie is more vivid than the reading. So it has better imagery than the reading. For instance when Mireya Sanchez is found to die at the border between America and Mexico, we can truly see the horror of her body. It is really touched for the audience. ” I really agree with Roland’s idea.

    The text has its limit. The movie has its natural advantage that can help the movie to state the theme better. In general, for the similar theme, the movie and the reading both represent well. However, the movie chooses more objective view to tell the story, and it uses symbolism to support theme more comprehensively.

    So I think the way that the movie presents the theme is better than the reading.


    Crossing Over. Perf. Harrison Ford. The Weinstein Company, 2009. Film.

    Mendoza, Louis Gerard. Crossing into America: The New Literature of Immigration. New York: New :, 2003. Print. Roland Ngaba Mbiakop.

    Personal interview. 23 Oct 2014. Santos, Fernanda, and Rebekah Zemansky. “Arizona Desert Swallows Migrants on Riskier Paths.

    ” NYtimes [New York City] 20 May 2013: n. pag. Print.

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