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Which Way Home

36 customer reviews

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(Jan 25, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Traversing more than 1450 miles upcountry Mexican freight trains routinely are boarded by migrants hoping to reach America. Among the thousands who ride the trains many are children traveling alone. They come from all over Mexico and Central America risking everything for the chance of a better life. Academy Award-® nominee WHICH WAY HOME follows some of these unaccompanied children as they make the long and treacherous voyage to the U.S. border. Some like Olga and Freddy venture out in search of distant relatives. Others like Kevin hope to find work to support their families at home. Often traveling for months or even years at a time these courageous and determined children each have stories of hope and resilience disappointment and sorrow. Chronicling the harrowing journey of thousands of migrant children WHICH WAY HOME illuminates a powerfully human side of immigration. DVD includes Two Version of the Feature-Length Film: Spanish Language and Spanish with English

Nominated for a 2010 Academy Award, Which Way Home, through its shocking depictions of neglected immigrant children struggling to sneak into America by train, manages to charm viewers into concern for its audacious young stars. Director Rebecca Cammisa's choice to focus almost exclusively on interviews with the train-hopping children, who range in age from roughly 8 to 18, makes this documentary infinitely more touching and effective. One gets a more well-rounded impression of the socioeconomic problem here; for every feeling of liberation the children experience, there are dangers lurking around the corner, several of which come to fruition during the filming period covered. For example, Kevin, a 14-year-old Honduran boy, and his pal, Yurico, a.k.a. "The Dog," a 17-year-old from Chiapas, occupy the bulk of the film footage, as the two boys and their cohorts ride "The Beast" through various territories. But as they skirt some sketchy situations, they can't help but tell stories of less lucky children who die on the trains en route to the United States. Additionally, tracing the aftereffects of their journey offers a less than ideal outcome for both boys. Many of the children in Which Way Home, like José from El Salvador, have experienced abandonment by their parents, who left in search of income and provided little in the way of role models. A few key scenes, like that filmed in the Guatemalan Consul where national officials interview boys before deporting them back to their home countries, and the scene showing Grupos Beta, a grassroots group that travels by van alongside the trains to provide free supplies and medical care to these children, are inspiring. Still, one comes to realize that the problem is overwhelming, as viewers gain access to the filthy flophouses, like House of Migrants, that are packed wall to wall with minors running away from home to find work. However, Cammisa captures a certain hobo humor here, which permeates the film's sad subject matter, as the boys tell jokes, lounge around with each other in the most brotherly ways, and care for each other in the absence of their parents. While Which Way Home chronicles a problem that demands attention, it does so in a touching manner, leaving its star characters' dignities intact as they confess their motivations, namely devout family loyalty. --Trinie Dalton

Product Details

  • Directors: Rebecca Cammisa
  • Producers: Andrew Holbrooke, Eric Goethals, Lorenzo Hagerman, Rebecca Cammisa, Benjamin Goldhirsh
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 8
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2011
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0042EJDGM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,923 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Which Way Home" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
A surprisingly effective and affecting documentary about children trying to migrate to the United States, "Which Way Home" tells a harrowing story of hope and disappointment. With four Emmy nominations and an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature, I'm perplexed more people haven't commented on this powerful illustration of human perseverance. The film highlights a world in which Central American immigrants ride dangerous freight trains across Mexico for a chance of a new life in American. A significant proportion of these individuals are unaccompanied minors and "Which Way Home" is primarily focused on humanizing a few of the kids on this trek. At times humorous, but largely heartbreaking, they cross the country with an idealized portrait of what to expect--but very few will ever reach their destination safely and those that do may not find the independence, security and wealth that they are seeking.

The film crew has all access and rides the rails with our protagonists. We see every different aspect and result of the journey within "Which Way Home," and this completeness to the story really distinguishes the film. There is a boy who barely survived a desert crossing to live with his grandmother in America. There is a boy who crosses the border to get detained in Houston at a juvenile center before his deportation. There are kids that are caught by Mexican immigration and sent home. There are kids who disappear completely. And there are kids who don't survive the journey. If it sounds unpleasant, it certainly can be! The resilience and hopefulness never seems to fade, however, even in the direst of circumstances.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. Howard Courtney on February 23, 2011
Format: DVD
With immigration a major issue for the States, it is often easy to take a position and argue one's beliefs and feel comfortable with those beliefs. This film makes one realize, whatever our position, there is a human element to the
story, much greater than we ever thought possible. Several months ago I saw the movie Sin Nombre and was astounded at what many of the immigrants had endured in attempting to come to this country, even though it was fictional. After that, I accidentally learned that one of my female students had come from Ecuador and traveled for two months, alone, to get here. She has no relatives in the country and is basically alone. Fortunately, she is an adult and attends night school to get her high school education.
As I was watching this documentary I felt I was watching Sin Nombre as many of the scenes and actions were identical. This film is an eye opener and I recommend it to everyone interested in the immigration issue.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Hotopp on August 13, 2011
Format: DVD
This is an amazing documentary. I showed this film to my Spanish classes last year and they loved it. The students were amazed at just how brave the boys and girls are for leaving their home and traveling to the United States via train...alone! This is a must have for all Spanish teachers or History teachers to focus on the issue of immigration for children. John Malkovich has done a wonderful job with this film.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Hammer + Jazz on March 12, 2011
Format: DVD
Setting aside (for a moment) the personal feelings i have regarding people of other nations trying to come illegally to our country , i would unreservedly suggest you see this documentary . The stories , hardships and so forth of these childen and their families , i would not wish on anyone . I was aware this sort of activity occured (not quite at these ages though) . Because i love my country and fear for its economic well being , i do believe we can't let human beings come to it illegally . Watching the stories of both the young and old is what i would call required viewing though . If for no other reasons , so that we (as a people) neither live in a blissful state of denial nor think the provenance of suffering is unique to us . Absolutely heartbreaking and truly informative .
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on February 23, 2011
Format: DVD
Which Way Home has been nominated for a 2010 Oscar Best Documentary, and as the title mentions, it is sad. The documentary takes us to Mexico, Guatemala, Hondorus, and explores the routes that children riding atop the trains up North for the entry into the U.S.

Any loving parent can feel for these desperate country conditions, with or without loving families trying to make it across. It makes you think of how fortunate we are, and most of all for our own children, who are not faced with such hardships. And, not only are the hardships from nature and elements, accidents, illness, hunger. Most of the hardships these children endure by the evils of adults and/or coyotes, the rapes, theft, beatings, corruption, etc.

It is not too often, in these documentaries told about the plight to the US, do we hear of a specific class of migrants, the forgotten children making their treacherous route, leaving for better lifestyle, leaving to earn money to improve lifestyle of their loved ones, and leaving to reunite with loved ones who have long since left for the U.S.

It is certainly an eye opener, and the crew gives us a birds-eye view from the top of the fast moving trains. Interesting enough to see the sweeping view of the countryside, the poverty they desire to leave. The viewer is placed smack atop the trains with the many children and others catching the trains, sitting and standing dangerously on top as the branches from trees hit, or worse, two people who were killed hit by the force the concrete tunnel, or a young lady who had both her legs cut off by the train, or the newspaper story of the mangled body found.

What is equally sad is to hear a young boy telling the story of 14 men raping a woman and her daughter.
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