Laredoans Speak: Voices on Immigration

In Victor A. Martinez and Ryan Schafer's naive, amateurish documentary, Laredoans (people from Laredo) indeed speak their minds, or at least a few of them do. Some six or seven men (women conspicuously absent), including a mayor, an immigration lawyer, a congressman and a "coyote," offer views on immigration. Unfortunately, they all say the same thing -- and it's nothing new, affecting or articulate. Pic bows Nov. 18 at Gotham's Quad Cinema before moving to the dustbin.

Cast:
With: Raul Salinas, Henry Cuellar, Juan Garza, Robert Greenblum, Richard Pauza Jr., Pepe Serna, Robert Cremo, Jesus Martinez.

In Victor A. Martinez and Ryan Schafer’s naive, amateurish documentary, Laredoans (people from Laredo) indeed speak their minds, or at least a few of them do. Some six or seven men (women conspicuously absent), including a mayor, an immigration lawyer, a congressman and a “coyote,” offer views on immigration. Unfortunately, they all say the same thing — and it’s nothing new, affecting or articulate. Pic bows Nov. 18 at Gotham’s Quad Cinema before moving to the dustbin.

In different rhetorical styles, from the careful evasiveness of the Texas congressman to the contemptuousness of the silhouetted smuggler, the participants argue on behalf of guest-worker visas, consider border walls an insult and believe Mexicans are discriminated against due to racism. They produce their clincher — America is a country of immigrants! — with the kind of enthusiasm that generally accompanies a newly minted revelation. One interviewee even quotes the Emma Lazarus poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty, verbatim. Sporadically, rebus-like statistical charts, whose relevance is tangential at best, occupy the screen for long stretches sans commentary.

Laredoans Speak: Voices on Immigration

Production: A Border Town Pictures production. Produced by Victor A. Martinez, Ryan Schafer, Pepe Serna. Executive producer, Frank Esposito, Joseph Smart. Directed, written by Victor A. Martinez, Ryan Schafer.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Martinez; editor, Schafer; music, Christian Mendoza. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Nov. 14, 2011. Running time: 75 MIN.

With: With: Raul Salinas, Henry Cuellar, Juan Garza, Robert Greenblum, Richard Pauza Jr., Pepe Serna, Robert Cremo, Jesus Martinez.

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