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Free Food, Free Movie, Free Perspective

On Thursday, October 3, Movie Night at the Germantown Campus offered free popcorn, drink, Guatemalan desserts, and a movie.  El Norte gave insight into a South American immigrant’s journey to America.  The event was hosted by the Center for International and Multicultural Students (CIMS) and the Office of Student Life (OSL) in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. El Norte, directed by Gregory Navawas the feature presentation.

Room HT216 had a welcoming atmosphere with free snacks for the taking and a staff member greeting you at the door with a sign in sheet to get credit for class and an event evaluation. The room was set up nicely with rows of chairs, giving a movie theatre feel. A small and intimate group of students and adults had gathered. Professor Jack Sallie of the CIMS introduced the film. With a few technical difficulties that were quickly remedied, the cinematic experience was set.

El Norte follows the journey of brother and sister Rosa and Enrique from their picturesque but oppressive home of Guatemala, Mexico,, through the dangerous streets of Tijuana, Mexico, and finally, “El Norte,” Los Angeles, California. Their excursion was a search for a better life, a life that their father wanted for them. One in which they were not treated just as “”brazos fuertes”, or “strong arms,” but as human beings “with a heart and soul.”

El Norte is an emotional and thought-provoking story with symbolism, gratifying moments, and hard-truths. Although El Norte was released in 1983, the film has remained relevant and is able to express the great sacrifice made by immigrants searching for the “American Dream.”

A short discussion followed the movie, led by Professor Sallie. Students and staff had much to say. A point was made that Rosa and Enrique were looking for acceptance in their home of Guatemala, and eventually Los Angeles, but could not find it. The discussion ends full circle with one student pointing out “Enrique found out what his father had already known, the rich see them (peasants/ immigrants) as a pair of strong arms.”

When asked about the importance of movie night and this particular film was, Professor Sallie said, “The movie puts a face to the millions who sacrifice, and this tends to change the debate when you know someone.” Student and Montgomery College senate member, Ryan Felix, enjoyed the movie and highly recommends Movie Night, he said. He attends movie night often because he enjoys watching movies and the nice break from his studies, he said.

All in all, Movie Night at the Germantown Campus was, in this reporter’s opinion, a success. From the snacks to the discussion, everyone can get something from the experience. If nothing else, it is a good way to check out from the stress of studying. Look for the next free Movie Night, Thursday October 24, 6:00-8:30pm, Globe Hall, Giants First Steps.

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