The Austin Chronicle

Tales That Must Be Told

Previewing the ninth Cine las Americas

By Frank Rivera, April 14, 2006, Screens

Everyone Their Grain of Sand

D: Beth Bird

Maclovio Rojas is a destitute Mexican border town threatened by the absence of running water, a state-funded school system, and leadership. Not that the townspeople aren't trying to rectify these shortcomings; they're just running into a wall of apathetic bureaucracy and greed. Over three years, Bird chronicled the citizens of Maclovio Rojas and their struggle against a government that would rather auction off inhabited land for corporate development than fulfill its obligation to act as warden to the people who occupy it. As protests fall on disinterested ears, and leaders are imprisoned under tenuous allegations of wrongdoing, an active community – concerned about the fate of its members – is brought to life. Despite the often gritty quality of the film, Bird immerses her audience in a town of immigrants who could not live up to the strict requirements of U.S. naturalization and are forced to deal with their current plight. Bird portrays a group of intelligent, supportive, and diligent citizens that, inexplicably, the United States is trying to keep out, and Mexico is trying to undermine.

Sunday, April 23, 1pm, Hideout

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