Seven-year odyssey of a cross-section of Cuban refugees from the great exodus of 1994 to life as legal immigrants in America is charted in “Balseros.” Noteworthy for its detail and evenhandedness, moving docu appears on its way to good sales, vigorous tube exposure and broad-ranging ancillary.
Following civil unrest in Havana during summer 1994, Fidel Castro announces no more boats will be stopped on their way to the U.S. This triggers a flurry of scheming and homemade vessel construction to tackle “the straits of death,” but then-President Clinton’s edict that the refugees will be turned away lands survivors of the crossing in a Guantanamo Bay refugee camp. After nine months of waiting, their long acclimation and education process begins in such far-flung locations as Kentucky, Connecticut and Nebraska, as well as Miami. Revisited five years later, each individual featured has achieved some level of the American Dream — both positive and negative. Tech credits are fine, with skillful weaving of video and film footage into a cohesive whole that values the human dimensions of the saga over political machinations.