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Entre Nos (Between
a stirring independent film from filmmakers Gloria La Morte and Paola
Mendoza. The film is an important independent film about immigration
policy issues in the United States. Mendoza, who also co-wrote and
stars in the film, based this on her experiences growing up with her
mother when she was a young child.
Mariana (Paola Mendoza) is
Spanish immigrant who moves to the United States with her husband and
two young children in the hopes of building a better life for her
family. This a melancholy and upsetting drama about her struggles and
tribulations during these years of her life. It's also a fitting
testament to the power of love and the dedication of mothers.
After a brief period of
living in the United States, her husband packs his bags for a new
city saying he intends to find better work and to come back to her
and the kids once things are sorted out. It isn't long, however,
before it becomes clear that he abandoned his wife and his children
and he delivers a message (through a friend) that he doesn't intend
on returning to them. Abandoned and left with the responsibility of
raising her children on her own, Mariana struggles with day-to-day
living while remaining dedicated to her children.
The story follows Mariana
children as they struggle to survive: will they even be able to
afford to live in an apartment with a shoddy roof over their heads,
or to get a decent meal? She picks up scraps of recycling bottles
that are strewn over the city and gets her children to help carry
these items around so they can get the 5 cents refund per bottle. It
adds up to a few dollars a time. They do whatever they can just to
survive each moment. Unable to find work in America, Mariana's
struggles are quite real and heartbreaking.
The story of Entre
Nos is both
deeply personal to the filmmaker and one which includes clearly
defined political undertones about immigration issues. The mother
looks for work but struggles to find a job as an immigrant. This film
has a positive message of encouragement for political reform on
The filmmaker, who based
around her experiences as a child growing up with her mother, who was
in a similar situation, explores their pain of trying to survive in a
land that promises a better, brighter future to all while
simultaneously offering rejection by society. The United States is a
land founded by immigration and yet immigrants in the US today are
For an independent feature,
production is enormously impressive with quality set designs and
locations. The production design by Adriana Serrano (American
Koko) is much more polished than typical indie fare. The
cinematography is luminously framed and brought to life on screen:
the film ebbs back and forth between feeling like a photographed
memory and like a documentary (all while never forgetting to serve
The music by Gil Talmi (Between
Folds) is subtle but effective at blending in with the
The exquisite cinematography by Bradford Young (who went on to do
cinematography for Arrival, Selma,
and Solo: A Star
Wars Story) is absolutely fantastic. This is a beautifully
movie that really impresses on a visual scale. The approach to the
film's cinematography is stylistically unique.
The screenplay was written
by Gloria La Morte (Washington Heights) and Paola
(Autumn's Eyes). This is a beautifully made film
had an enormous amount of heart put in to the production. The film
feels very sincere and authentic from the first frame to the last.
Though the film is emotionally gut-wrenching at times (as there is a
bleakness to it) it's also a film that is hopeful and inspirational
at the same time. The exceptional filmmaking on display and the films
important message makes Entre Nos a must-see film
interested in films about immigrants and immigration issues.
The film is presented on DVD in the original 1.85:1
theatrical aspect ratio. This is a slightly above-average DVD
presentation which is a serviceable presentation. The cinematography
done by Bradford Young (Arrival, Selma,
Solo: A Star
Wars Story) is exceptional and has a grittiness which feels
The film is presented with a 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo audio
presentation. This is a decent audio presentation which has good
dialogue clarity for a low-budget independent feature. The film
doesn't have much in the way of surround usage, even for a stereo
presentation, but it's to be expected for an indie. This is a
perfectly serviceable audio presentation.
Behind the Scenes (15 min.) is a making-of
explores the production of the film with casting, location scouting,
and rehearsal footage. Featuring interviews with the cast and crew.
For an independent film, it's a surprisingly well-made extra looking
at different aspects of the production.
How to make empanadas (5 min.) is a short
making empanadas as hosted by the directors of the film.
PSA on Immigration Reform (2 min.)
director/co-writer/actress Paola Mendoza discussing the importance of
Still Standing: A Short Film by Director Paola
min.) is a short documentary in which director Paola Mendoza visits a
relative in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it
wrecked in its path. This is a well-done short which showcases the
talent and promise to come by director Mendoza.
Mendoza based Entre Nos style="font-style: normal;">
on her experiences growing up with her mother. It's a testament to
her mother's strength and to the strength of the human spirit. This
young girl grew up the child of an immigrant to become an immensely
talented filmmaker with a passion for telling stories: Mendoza brings
her skills, unique voice, and personality to this harrowing tale of
life on the brink. This film serves as a timely reminder of the need
for significant immigration reform in the United States.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.