Ways of Being Home
This intimate cinematic portrait of two small towns - one in Mexico and one in Minnesota - is an evocative audiovisual meditation on the experience of Mexican immigrants living and working in rural America. Vivid cinematography, richly layered soundscapes, short animated sequences, and a constellation of testimonies introduce audiences to Maltrata, an agricultural town nestled in the mountains of Veracruz, Mexico, and to Northfield, a college town in southern Minnesota where many Maltratans have immigrated and settled. By means of a nonlinear narrative and a camera that thoughtfully yet viscerally meanders between everyday scenes in both towns, Chilean-American director Cecilia Cornejo Sotelo (dir. I WONDER WHAT YOU WILL REMEMBER OF SEPTEMBER) shows the complexities of, and contrasts between, these places.
Filmed amidst increasing violence and political unrest in Mexico and the rising anti-immigrant sentiment that took hold during and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the voices of fiercely determined and hard-working women coalesce to offer a nuanced portrait of a transnational community. Ultimately, the film is a testament to the resiliency and ingenuity of uprooted people as they craft a life and a home fostered by ritual, relationship, and community rather than solely by geography.