Exuding in uniqueness, and fueling an unsatisfiable curiosity, Pueblos Hermanos (Brother Towns), produced by Charles D. Thompson Jr. and filmed by Michael Davey, demonstrates a fresh perspective of immigration in the United States. Documenting the relationship between two towns linked by immigration, the audience witnesses the connections and struggle of immigrants from the perspective of Maya town, Jacaltenango in Guatemala, and it’s sister town, Jupiter, Florida. Archiving the various reasons why the Jacaltecos are migrating to the United States, Pueblos Hermanos gives an intimate perspective that resonates with empathy and understanding. An increasingly controversial issue, the documentary also captures the complexities of immigration from both ends of the spectrum; witnessing supporters and opponents of the on-going topic.
The immigration to Jupiter began in the traditional concept of immigration; people seeking a better life. As the opportunity for landscaping and construction work grew in Jupiter during the 1980’s, Guatemalans in search for prosperity began to settle in the town. Naturally, the Latino population began to grow as these workers shared the news of opportunity back to their hometown, and so on and so forth. Eventually, Jupiter had to acknowledge the drastic increase in immigrants and respond to community complaints, though unverified, of the new population’s noise, littering, and threat to traffic. The clever result, established in 2006, was Jupiter’s El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center. The community worked closely and cooperated to handle the situation with grace and optimism. The outstanding part of this film isn’t even quite the cinematography, but being a witness to the simple beauty captured by the film; an entire city focused on helping one another in a safe, efficient and caring way, for the sake of everyone, regardless of race or color.
Pueblos Hermanos is not narrated like most films, the narration is a series of interviews and is guided by the brief discussions by an immigrant, Filomeno Raymundo Diaz. The cinematography captures the images of both worlds– contrasting them, yet showing them alike. The most beautiful aspect of the film was the concept of humanity showcased throughout the film. The audience has the opportunity to understand more humble reasons towards the migrations– that people are not just leaving because they “want to steal jobs” or for selfish reasons or ulterior motives, but for the sake of survival. The people from Jacaltenango, Guatemala are experience an immense poverty, one that cannot be pacified by only the production of the land or by any other local resource; their greatest opportunity for saving their people is by leaving. Unfortunately, in the United States, we see the day laborers, yet we do not witness the struggle and the suffering of immigrants leaving their mothers and fathers and children and wives behind; we do not witness these workers sending money back home, or investing in water wells or new concrete slabbed homes; we do not see an immigrant’s modest attempts to better the world of the people back home. That is the brilliant thing about Pueblos Hermanos, it unveils an honest perspective that denounces anyone who opposes immigration, despite letting them use their voice. Pueblos Hermanos simply showcases the honesty of two communities helping each other survive.
Watch the trailer for Pueblos Hermanos below:
This film was reviewed at the Cine Las Americas International Film Festival. Cine Las Americas is a multi-cultural, 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Austin Texas. The mission of Cine Las Americas is to promote cross-cultural understanding and growth by educating, entertaining and challenging diverse audiences through film and media arts.