Sunday, November 24, 2019


The family just keeps moving from one hardship
to another in Barren Lives

First hour and twenty minutes of Barren Lives: The story of this poor Brazilian family travelling around meeting hardship after hardship is one of the most depressing movies I've ever seen. Dad can't get any kind of work, gets ripped off and beaten by gamblers and law enforcement, Mom has to toil over and over again and is so despondent that she often wishes her life would just end to hope for a better one in the next one. The kids are always hungry, uncomfortable and unhappy. At least the beloved family dog, Balelia survives, right?

Last twenty minutes of Barren Lives: Hold my beer.

Balelia, poor poor Balelia
in Barren Lives

Enrique and Rosa try to get a leg up in America
in El Norte

Another travelling movie (Roger Ebert compared it to Grapes of Wrath) has a brother (Enrique) and sister (Rosa) escaping their war torn village in Guatemala to go north (The United States). They manage to get away and struggle to get to Mexico before finally winding up in Los Angeles. The journey isn't easy and it doesn't seem to get much better once they get there either. Problems with immigration, employment, prejudice, language and sickness plague them. A fine film, but you know this one isn't going to wind up happily ever after either.

The movie is broken down into three sections: The village, the journey through Mexico and coming to America.
The poetic final scene of El Norte


  1. I visited that area in Brazil seven years ago and it looks exactly as barren and poor as in the movie. Over the last decade something has happened there because there is one resource they have plenty of: wind! Thousands of wind turbines are going up there and for the first time ever these villages are getting paved roads, sanitation and real jobs. And they are still the nicest people ever.