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☞ Home ☞ Spanish Culture ☞ Cinema ☞ Al Otro Lado

Latinamerican & Hispanic Movies :.

Al Otro Lado - 2005
(On the Other Side)

Al Otro Lado
Duration : 90 mins.
Directed By : Gustavo Loza
Cast :
- Adrián Alonso
- Carmen Maura
- Héctor Suárez
- Héctor Echemendía
- Ignacio Guadalupe
- Jorge Miló
- Nuria Badih
- Sanáa Alaoui
- Susana González
- Vanessa Bauche


Sinopsis :
Al Otro Lado, written and directed by Gustavo Loza, was Mexico's official selection for the 2006 Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. It offers three stories about children whose fathers are absent. But these men are by no means deadbeat dads; each one has emigrated in the hopes of finding greater prosperity somewhere else. One story involves a boy in Mexico; another has a boy in Cuba; and the last one deals with a young girl in Morocco. Although the film intercuts between the three stories, the film could have just as easily been structured as three separate chapters since each can stand alone as a self-contained story. As with two other San Diego Latino Film Festival entries—Innocent Voices and Machuca—Al Otro Lado takes a child’s perspective on the world. But because of the three-way split the narrative takes, none of the stories develops with the depth, power or intimacy of either Innocent Voices or Machuca.

But Al Otro Lado’s multinational approach emphasizes how widespread such stories are. Each of the three children reacts powerfully to the absence of his or her father, and each takes drastic action to try and bring him back. The film addresses the resiliency as well as the ingenuity of children, but it also suggests that these qualities cannot protect them from all harm. The stories vary in quality. The Mexican tale with its hints of magical realism, and the Moroccan story with its fiercely determined young girl, work best and feature the best performances. The Cuban story plays out as more contrived and the young actor comes across as more self-conscious. In general, director Gustavo Loza works well with the children and keeps the film from their point of view. But because of the time constraints of playing out three stories in less than two hours, he tends to take some shortcuts in the plot to bring each story to a conclusion. Al Otro Lado was an audience favorite and was very well received when it was shown in March as a part of the Border Issues series of films at the 2006 San Diego Latino Film Festival. It arrives now as issues of immigration are being even more fiercely and passionately debated, and it adds potent material to the discussion. Al Otro Lado (rated PG-13 and in Spanish with English subtitles) is more interesting for its content than its craft. But Gustavo Loza delivers an affecting work that may open some people’s eyes to wider reaching issues about immigration.

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