Exile Nation: The Plastic PeopleHD Closed Captioning
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About the Movie
The September 11th attacks began a decade-long period of anti-immigrant policies in the United States. As a consequence, the US began the mass-deportation of "non-citizens." Current estimates are between 4 to 6 million. Those hit hardest by these new policies were Latinos, primarily Mexicans, who make up 97% of those deported. They return to a country with a devastated economy in the midst of a cartel war. Stripped of all identification they are considered "illegal" in Mexico too, and as a consequence, unemployable...and criminal. Disavowed by both nations, they struggle to survive in a Hellish limbo along the border, separated from everyone and everything they know. At a rate of 400 a day, Tijuana is where most end up. The Plastic People is a film about those who left Mexico years before to build a new life in the States, had families, and contributed to their communities, yet still had not achieved citizenship. Children were taken from parents, leaving tens of thousands as wards of the state. Many were deported without any hope of returning, their families trapped on the other side of the border. Shot on location in Tijuana, this film follows the lives of three men who have found themselves stuck in an impossible situation as drug addicts, criminals and deportees, and who they become under these extraordinary conditions; how they find meaning, purpose and ultimately, redemption. In the background is a tableau of Mexican-American deportees living along the border just twenty miles from San Diego in the middle of a Cartel war zone. The Plastic People reveals how the exploitative policies of a failed war on drugs and immigrants added Tijuana's "Zona Norte" to the growing international crisis of nationless refugees and deportees.
A powerful act of witnessing
The reality of the lives of these forgotten souls will leave you forever changed. It doesn’t seem possible that political conditions should be able to force lives to be lived out this way or that anyone could endure the daily heartbreak of this kind of separation…I had no idea. EJO’s narration is fantastic. Recommended.
I wish everyone would see this
I wish that everyone, especially those with a black and white view of immigration, could see this film. The images, the stories, Edward James Olmos' narration all vividly illustrate the struggles and hardship experienced by every day people, who happen to be brown, just looking for a better life.
From Mexico City
From Maia Balam, Mexico City
"THE PLASTIC PEOPLE portrays the raw and ugly face of a crumbling American society, it tells the everyday story of millions of deportees, some that were new migrants crossing the border, and many more that already had a life in the U.S. Mothers, elders, teenagers, working men, they are all equally affected, the system has no eyes or heart,
it breaks down families, and pushes deportees to a place where they loose their roots, and any kind of connection to society.
Having nowhere to go back to, stranded in a Kafkian bardo, the deportees get thrown in jail, then into the streets, and ultimately become drug addicts.
This Documentary portrays the lives of the broken, the unwanted, the unseen, the no names, and numbers into what deported immigrants become. The work of Charles Shaw and Chris Bava is relevant to everyone, in a sense that it helps us to look at our own shadow, not just the horrible side of the system, but it sheds light in some of the main issues of our troubled and indifferent society, for us not to look away from the horror, but to actually stare at it and try to find a solution to discrimination and apathy, even if its only with small actions."