Light Industry Film Screening

El Otro Lado (2004)

October 12, 2017
7:00 – 9:00 pm
185 Nassau Street – James M. Stewart ’32 Theater

Lyon started photographing a number of undocumented workers across the Mexican border: the baths they’d take in irrigation ditches, the detentions to which they’d be subjected, the arrests they’d face at the hands of La Migra (immigration). By 1977 he’d met a group from Oueretaro – two young brothers, their father, and a small cluster of their friends – who made arduous pilgrimages to Arizona’s Maricopa County to work in the state’s citrus groves (….) Almost forty years later, the film Lyon made from that material remains both a daring political act and a concise masterwork of nonfiction cinema. Every scene of El Otro Lado is a precise, patient, and expansive delineation of what it was like to work in this setting under intense pressures and threats. In its mingling of fictional reenactment and straight observation, its luxurious scenes of musical performances, and the deft way it captures the constant lurking tension behind these men’s conversations and hangout sessions, it gives an indelible record of a precarious, hunted livlng. ”Last year I was caught four times,” one worker remembers in a title card before the party leaves Oueretaro. “Oh,” his friend says, “so you’re a regular client.” – Max Nelson