Which Way Home (2009)

12 Oct

The United States and the American Dream have a strong pull on lots of people. The stories of a nobody becoming a somebody is fascinating and it’s one of the reasons why so many people are trying to get into the country illegally, hoping to start a new life. Thousands of South American immigrants try escape their current existence by travelling to the U.S. on top of freight trains of which about 5 percent are children travelling alone. It’s a very dangerous journey with smugglers who will leave people behind, trains that can throw you off, rivers with strong currents or vast deserts. The movie Sin Nombre already showed a fictional story about the subject, but this documentary shows the journey for real, through the eyes of some kids ranging from ages 9 to 17.

Some of these kids left their homes without telling their parents, wanting to help them or sometimes escape them and go to this beautiful country they saw on television. They usually find other kids and they travel in little groups. Director Rebecca Cammisa went along for the ride on the freight trains and meets one of these groups. During the documentary you learn to know them as they tell their stories, but also hear about the dangers they face. It also shows that a big number will never make it to the U.S. Some of them are caught by the border patrol, other don’t make it alive. Parent of these deceased children are also interviewed and these are stories that will break your heart.

Which Way Home shows that immigration is a big problem causing lots of pain to lots of people. It’s something which unfortunately won’t change if the situation in which these people live in doesn’t change. They can’t get out of the situation they are in and are willing to risk their lives to make it better. The fact that these kids are followed on top of the trains, meaning lots of risks for the documentary makers as well has resulted in a documentary which you won’t forget any time soon.

Score: 9

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