American West •  Chicano/Chicana and Film

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Alambrista and the U.S.-Mexico Border: Film, Music, and Stories of Undocumented Immigrants

Edited by Davíd Carrasco
Edited by Nicholas Cull

Robert M. Young's critically acclaimed 110-minute film Alambrista (1977) depicts the harsh realities of Mexican life on both sides of the border. Following the birth of his first child, a young Mexican slips across the border into the United States in search of the American dream for himself and his family. He finds heartbreak, exploitation, and disappointment, but also friendship, affection, and help along the way.

When first released, Alambrista received critical praise and a number of awards, including a Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. For the University of New Mexico Press release, a distinguished group of scholars has packaged a new director's cut of the film with a book of essays devoted to immigration and the U.S.-Mexican borderlands. These scholars include Albert Camarillo, Richard Griswold del Castillo, Daniel Groody, Teresa Carrillo, Howie Movshovitz, Bill Ong Hing, José Cuellar, Cordelia Candelaria, and the editors.

The director's cut includes new scenes, an improved sound track with a totally new musical score by "Dr. Loco and Los Tiburones del Norte," English subtitles, and interviews with the director and other participants. Also included with the book and DVD is an enhanced CD of the sound track.


Davíd Carrasco is Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America with a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology and the Divinity School at Harvard University. He was recently awarded the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle.

Nicholas J. Cull, a leading British historian of film, is professor of American Studies at the University of Leicester, United Kingdom.


"An important and informative collection of essays that puts the movie into historical, cultural and artistic context."


Dallas Morning News

"This wonderful book recalls the struggle in creating Alambrista."


New York Resident

" Alambrista and the US-Mexico Border; Film, Music and Stories of Unducumented Imigrants is already playing a major role in new collaborative efforts within the field of Latino Studies. . ( Alambrista) demands the attention of students, scholars, and activists alike."



"Readers will find the film critiqued in the text with remarkable even-handedness, providing insight and context. . . an extremely valuable contribution to the ongoing debate about what we can/might/could/should/must not/must do to preserve lives and make our border with Mexico viable."


Southwest BookViews

"The book is a collection of essays on the historical context of the film as well as criticism and analysis of it. At the end of each essay is a series of provocative questions for the reader/viewer. All of this creates an exceptional educational package that is highly recommended not just for the classroom but also anyone interested in the life of the undocumented migrant agricultural worker."


Multicultural Review

" Alambrista refocuses attention on the Mexican immigrant experience in the United States. . . the book is a good read."


El Paso Times

6 x 9 in. 232 pages 14 halftones