Alambrista is a perfectly rare bit of film that has been given additional life through its inclusion in the Criterion Collection. This Ned Beatty-led film is focused on the plight of the migrant worker. Robert M. Young’s direction is able to convey the utter hopelessness of the situation. The transferring of the narration back and forth between Spanish and English shows the duality of the lives in which these individuals live. The Criterion print of the film benefits from a high definition transfer to a DVD quality; save for seeing the title in its original theatrical engagement, few have seen Alambrista in such clarity.
For those individuals that were unaware of the workers’ life situation either in the present or 35 years in the past, the audio commentary laid down by coproducer Michael Hausman or Young provides ample education and explication into the phenomenon and film. Give the essay written by Charles Ramirez Berg a spin for a further placement of the film into the broad fabric of the foreign experience in United States’ films. The Special Edition also contains an interview conducted with Edward James Olmos, who provides valid and intricate takes on the title. Where few films in the seventies have the legs to be relevant in the current period, I feel that Alambrista is a title that can speak to the widest possible swath of individuals, no matter what sort of upbringing they may have had.
Check out Criterion’s slate for the rest of 2012 to see some tremendous titles.
Alambrista (DVD) / 2012 Criterion Collection / 96 Minutes / http://www.criterion.com