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 Post subject: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:19 pm 
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¡Alambrista!

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In ¡Alambrista!, a farmworker sneaks across the border from Mexico into California in an effort to make money to send to his family back home. It is a story that happens every day, told here in an uncompromising, groundbreaking work of realism from American independent filmmaker Robert M. Young. Vivid and spare where other films about illegal immigration might sentimentalize, Young’s take on the subject is equal parts intimate character study and gripping road movie, a political work that never loses sight of the complex man at its center. ¡Alambrista!, winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s inaugural Camera d’Or in 1978, remains one of the best films ever made on this perennially relevant topic.

Disc Features

- New high-definition digital restoration, with 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- New audio commentary featuring director Robert M. Young and coproducer Michael Hausman
- New interview with actor Edward James Olmos
- Children of the Fields, a 1973 short documentary by Young, accompanied by a new interview with the director
- Trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Charles Ramírez-Berg


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:35 pm
Location: NJ
Never heard of it prior to announcement, but I'm sold.


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:45 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm
Yeah, it's a new one to me, although everyone seemed to know it once it came into contention...


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:25 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Only other Robert M. Young film I've seen is Short Eyes, written by Miguel Pinero and featuring a soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield. It's one of the best dramas from the 70's and probably my favorite prison film. Based on that film alone, I have high hopes for this one. I've tried looking for a bootleg for a while now and could never find one, but looks like it's pointless now!

Oddly enough, right around the time the film was leaked to be released by Criterion, they had a screening of this film at a Mexican-American bookstore somewhere around Hollywood with Robert M. Young in person and they were selling special books about the film which included a copy of the film. Wonder if the book is hard to find?


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm
Location: sd, ca
Ned Beatty's entry into the collection?


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:49 pm
Location: Denver, CO
knives wrote:
Ned Beatty's entry into the collection?

Oh, how quickly they (try to) forget.


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:58 pm
He was also in Wiseblood


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:36 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm
Location: sd, ca
Haven't seen either so I pass the buck.


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:55 am 
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Now, this is of major interest for anyone who's interested in (activist) film-making about migration, labor and stuff 70s style or who's fond of Nava's more conventional melodrama 'El Norte'. I vaguely remember that there were hints it would be released some day, weren't there? In my eyes, last year's release schedule has been rather boring - but, well, this is said from a European perspective, so it doesn't mean nothing in the end - but April is a nice month once again and Alambrista may be my favorite pick. It's been released already by the University of New Mexico in 2004 with, as it looks, far superior "extras" (soundtrack and a book with essays on immigration, the US-Mexican border and its filmic representations), but with an at best average transfer which should warrant this re-release (- although folks with more scientific or activist interests may still prefer the older edition to the forthcoming Criterion because of the wealth of contextualizing material published in the book).

Oh, and this is most likely exactly the book ElegantDandyFop has mentioned above. It's obviously still in print and therefore easily available, isn't it? Here's the bibliographic description: David Carrasco, Nicholas Cull (ed.): Alambrista and the U.S.-Mexico Border: Film, Music, and Stories of Undocumented Immigrants. Albuquerque 2004 (University of New Mexico Press)


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:10 pm 
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Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
Does anyone know what the differences are between the 110 minute original version and the 96 minute director's cut? (Apparently on a quick search it involves new scenes and a totally different score)


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:44 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:02 am
I love the phrase "perennially relevant". Also excited at the proposition of seeing a migrant worker film which doesn't indulge in sentimentality; the best one I've seen to date is Mann's Border Incident.


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:12 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:42 pm
The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote:
Only other Robert M. Young film I've seen is Short Eyes, written by Miguel Pinero and featuring a soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield. It's one of the best dramas from the 70's and probably my favorite prison film. Based on that film alone, I have high hopes for this one. I've tried looking for a bootleg for a while now and could never find one, but looks like it's pointless now?

Short Eyes is a gritty, badass but highly underseen movie, I agree. While I've never seen Alambrista, i am a huge fan of Young's best known movie Dominick and Eugene, if only for Tom Hulce's great, touching performance.


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:13 pm 
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karmajuice wrote:
Also excited at the proposition of seeing a migrant worker film which doesn't indulge in sentimentality; the best one I've seen to date is Mann's Border Incident.
See also this thread.


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:55 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:25 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA
stroszeck wrote:
The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote:
Only other Robert M. Young film I've seen is Short Eyes, written by Miguel Pinero and featuring a soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield. It's one of the best dramas from the 70's and probably my favorite prison film. Based on that film alone, I have high hopes for this one. I've tried looking for a bootleg for a while now and could never find one, but looks like it's pointless now?

Short Eyes is a gritty, badass but highly underseen movie, I agree. While I've never seen Alambrista, i am a huge fan of Young's best known movie Dominick and Eugene, if only for Tom Hulce's great, touching performance.

I forgot! I did see one another film of his about two years ago at a special screening programmed by DJ Lance Rock from Yo Gabba Gabba! where he screened an early Robert M. Young film called J.T. about a poor black kid and petty crook from Harlem who finds and fosters a cat behind his parents back while trying to hide from other kids who want to steal his stolen portable radio. For a television kids movie, it's surprisingly gritty and tough. Too bad it seems impossible to find. So two great films by him I've seen.


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:51 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:42 pm
I think maybe it would've been a better choice to do Short Eyes or at least include it as part of a 2 disc set with Alambrista. S.E. was the breakthrough play written by Miguel Pinero, who I believe even got a Tony Award nomination the year it was released. Also, it was one of the first films to deal with raw, graphic stories set in prisons (paving the way years later for projects like American Me, Oz and The Wire). Certainly, Pinero himself was a controversial and interesting enough figure (he wrote the play in a writing workshop while in prison for armed robbery) to warrant lots of juicy supplements on his writing, his life, and the movie.


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:38 am 
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Location: Florida
The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote:
Only other Robert M. Young film I've seen is Short Eyes, written by Miguel Pinero and featuring a soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield. It's one of the best dramas from the 70's and probably my favorite prison film.

While I agree Short Eyes is a highly interesting film and worth seeking out, it's a stretch to call it one of the best of the 70s. Of course it's all subjective, but this is one of those where mileage will highly vary. As could be expected from a first-time screenwriter, Pinero's script often fails to escape its theatrical roots. If the DVD commentary is any indication, Young perhaps held Pinero with too much esteem to change any of it. While there are several ear-catching lines and the authenticity of the location is undeniable, there are also moments where the characters sound like they're merely speechifying for the sake of it.


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:15 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:42 pm
Numero Trois wrote:
While there are several ear-catching lines and the authenticity of the location is undeniable, there are also moments where the characters sound like they're merely speechifying for the sake of it.

Ehh, I can forgive that, after all they're stuck in prison. What else is there to do in but talk a lot, lift weights and brutalize each other?


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:57 pm 
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¡DVDBeaver!


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:26 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:29 pm
Location: Los Angeles CA
karmajuice wrote:
Also excited at the proposition of seeing a migrant worker film which doesn't indulge in sentimentality; the best one I've seen to date is Mann's Border Incident.

There are some fabulous short documentaries by Danny Lyon on migrant workers. I screened one; MOMA Circulating library. No DVD that I know of.


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:44 pm
Finally saw this a week or two ago. It's a solid little film, definitely worth checking out. Not as good as "El Norte," though, IMO.


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:11 pm 
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The Narrator Returns wrote:

Just noticed this now and <3


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 Post subject: Re: 609 ¡Alambrista!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am
I know I'm not one of the more succinct/better writers when they come across a film they love on this board, but I wanted to lavish a bit of praise on this after finally getting around to watching it. I don't know why it caught my attention when announced but it seemed really interesting and the film is, in my opinion, way better than a solid little film and absolutely beautiful.

The story is incredibly simple and yet done so well. As he makes friends you absolutely feel for him. You hope he picks up on English as soon as he can so he can be safe and out of harm's way. It's a very uplifting tale, and while there is certainly a very depressing and real angle to it, overall this works richly as an underdog and true love story.

One question I did want to ask was about the lyrics to the songs: much akin to an episode in (season 3?) of Breaking Bad, a Mexican band plays along to a video and almost in an operatic/overture kind of way narrates the action. As Roberto hands a woman he's met a scarf, for example, the song playing is about how a man gave his lovely woman a scarf. Is this a common thing in Mexican music? Does this kind of lyric writing have a name? Origin?


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