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Movie Review: “Los Que Se Quedan” (“Those Who Remain”)avatar

with 4 comments

Last night, I had the privilege of attending the California premiere of the documentary, “Los Que Se Quedan” (“Those Who Remain.”) The film, by Carlos Hagerman and Juan Carlos Rulfo, follows nine families in six different states in México for 11 months, and tells the story of the people who are left behind after their loved ones migrate to the United States.

I think most of the people who packed the Tower Theater last night related in some way to the film it. I know I did.

As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but think of a friend I met while working for a community newspaper in Northern Virginia. He had emigrated from Honduras and, as we became closer, he told me about the daughter he had not seen for four years. I was so interested to discover what he left behind in his country, and why he left, that I convinced my traveling companion to join me on a weeklong trip to Honduras.

In July 2008, we flew into San Pedro Sula airport, and my friend’s ex-wife and eight-year old daughter met us at the airport. My friend had packed a Hannah Montana backpack full of gifts for his daughter, and I happily handed it over to his daughter. When we got to their house, his daughter showed me her bedroom, where she had pictures of my friend throwing snowballs in Virginia. She showed me the artwork she’d created, and I snapped photos of her displaying her masterpieces, to show my friend when I returned to Virginia.

My companion and I then spent a week being tourists in the Central American country, but the hours we spent with my friend’s daughter and ex-wife were some of the most memorable and impactful moments of my trip. More than a year after that trip to Honduras, I still gaze at a photo of my friend’s daughter and I, which is posted in my cubicle at work. It reminds me of people’s powerful and personal stories – the types of stories I want to write as a reporter.

I don’t normally blog about personal experiences, but I think the power of “Los Que Se Quedan” is that it humanizes the story of migration, and reminds people of their personal experiences with migration. If you saw the documentary last night, I would love to hear about your reaction. Please feel free to comment and review the film in the space below. 

A story about the movie, including an interview with director Carlos Hagerman, will be published in next week’s edition of Vida. Below is trailer for the film, which opens Oct. 30 in México.


Written by Rebecca Plevin

October 23rd, 2009 at 8:41 am

4 Responses to 'Movie Review: “Los Que Se Quedan” (“Those Who Remain”)'

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  1. I was impressed with the depiction of Mexican rural life, the life left behind when migrants come to the U.S. From my own experience in conducting fieldwork in Zacatecas, Michoacan, Guanajuato, Sinaloa, Oaxaca and other state in Mexico, I know that this is a true reflection of life in those rural communities, of the family milestones that are missed, of seeing ones children grow, of not being with aging parents, etc. As we watch from the sidelines, as we drive by vineyards and orchards, we never think about what those individuals left behind to be here working to put food on our tables. This movie will open your eyes to that sacrifice. Anna M. Garcia


    Anna M. Garcia

    23 Oct 09 at 10:15 am

  2. Saw the movie with my husband who moved here from Oaxaca 13 years ago. Seeing the images of towns left behind by young men and women in search of a better life moved us both deeply. Of course my husband thought of his mother and father and brothers and sisters who stayed behind. Once here, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily struggles of job, bills, etc and momentarily forget about los que se quedan. I’m grateful for this movie, so that those who are not personally affected by immigration struggles, might at lease become more compassionate.



    24 Oct 09 at 5:36 pm

  3. I too went to the screening of this movie, it had such an impact on me. It truly opened my eyes to what I never really thought of. I had always wondered what happens to the ones that stay behind. As I watched the nine families I felt attached almost instantly. In my family we were the lucky ones when my parents married they moved to McAllen Tejas in 54 and then to California in the 60′s. We had cousins that were born in Mexico and spent years away from their fathers. But 7 years is a long time to be away from your dad. I hope this movie had an impact on others who watched, I know it did me. What an awesome thing Carlos Hagerman and Juan Carlos Rulfo have done, with this movie congratulations!


    Abigail Guajardo

    26 Oct 09 at 7:45 am

  4. Please let me know where you saw these films or who organized the screenings.


    David Franco

    4 Dec 09 at 12:33 pm

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