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Directed by Chantal Akerman

Belgium, France, Australia, Finland 2002 99 mins. In French

On the Mexico-US border, the twin towns of Agua Prieta, Sonora and Douglas, Arizona—far from the population centers of Juarez/El Paso or Tijuana/San Diego—are home to both hopeful, persistent immigrants and resilient, spiteful permanent residents. As with most of Akerman’s documentary work, she brings a keen, searching eye to this most barren of places, in the process accumulating crucial testimonies from immigrants in search of a better life, away from the war-torn countries from which they flee; and, on the opposite side of the border, with those who seem to want nothing more than for those immigrants not to reach their final destination. Intercut with pensive tracking shots of the foreboding Sonoran desert, illustrating the brutality of the landscape, Akerman’s portrait of place and people is one of her most somberly poetic works in a career filled with exactly that. “Chilling! Stunningly composed… In a few deft interviews [the film] shows the hypocrisy and paranoia involved in U.S. immigration policy and its failure to acknowledge the economic dependence of the U.S. on undocumented laborers.” —Amy Taubin, Film Comment.

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.