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library of congress

library of congress

library of congress



389 Miles “Living the Border” is a documentary film that addresses the current immigration debate taking place on the Arizona-Mexico border. This documentary film is a human journey, a story documented by director/producer Luis Carlos Davis who grew up in the shadow of the Arizona-Mexico border. It presents the raw, daily life of human beings who come from different backgrounds and ideologies when it comes to immigration, one of the few things they all have in common is the border fence, steel wall or a strands of rusty barbed wire. There is no purely good or bad side to the issue, only the complex web of human emotions and issues forged by them—survival, human trafficking, rape, corruption, evil and grace in many disguises. The use of an unobtrusive camera allows the characters to speak simply, honestly and with dignity, no matter what their position on immigration might be. The journey starts at Mile 1 in Douglas, Arizona where a Border Patrol agent apprehends two undocumented migrants, one from Mexico and the other from Costa Rica who spots a woman walking near by and spontaneously and sarcastically gives notice to the agent of her presence and suggests to him that he “get her”. It continues westward to reveal the soft underbelly of border towns on both sides, exploring remote locations known only by Polleros or smugglers who can make between $200,000 to $500,000 a year. The journey passes through a migrant camp in a remote desert location where people weigh the risks and opportunities as they embark on a dangerous journey filled with uncertainty. Together all these players form a complex human mosaic which goes beyond the current debate about immigration to explore the human relations forged by the border, from a sense of a common neighborhood across the fence, to border residents, to vigilante groups patrolling along the border in an attempt to seal it, to activists on both sides who are trying to help the undocumented migrants on their harsh, treacherous and unpredictable journey. Sometimes the border is barely visible, only a barbed wire fence. Sometimes it is a formidable steel wall. Throughout the film it is a constant visual character that connects or separates all those who “live” the border.


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