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  • This is not a commercial Hollywood style film, and if you're looking for a lot of action, you won't get it here. El Jardín del Edén is a thoughtful, intriguing character study and gives us a glimpse of what life is like for different kinds of people who end up at the U.S./Mexican border in the mid-1990s. Migration is not a one way street, and just as there are Mexicans who want to go to "the other side," there are people from the U.S. who are drawn to Mexico and are searching for something there they can't find at home. Not all Mexicans living in Tijuana want to cross to the U.S. Not all Mexicans who cross want to stay in the U.S. This film breaks down a lot of stereotypes about what the border is, and it makes it clear that we can't put people into neat little categories. People are motivated to do things for a lot of different reasons, and sometimes cultural and personal differences are so subtle that people offend or hurt each other without even realizing it. I would recommend this film to anyone who has seen too many violent, action packed films about corruption, greed and crime along the border, because it shows that things are not always so dramatic and wild as we imagine. Here, the border has a definite and unique character of its own, but it's no better and no worse than any other place. Sometimes people find what they're looking for, sometimes not, but there is a certain degree of hope in the film that keeps the characters moving forward and imagining a better kind of life for themselves and others.
  • This film is one of the best I have seen on Mexican border crossings. The reality of life on the Mexican side of the border vs. the false promises of life in the United States is very well done. The conflict among the Mexicans on both sides of the border is depicted very well. The screenplay captures the abject poverty and the need for change. We should remove the borders and take the money we are spending now for health care and education and stop catering to the right wing racists. We have lost the battle to control our borders and this film shows that in great detail. The relationship between the American siblings is highlighted by the similarities in the Mexican community. The metaphor of the whales not having any borders in the water speaks volumes about freedom and the desire to be able to travel freely without government interference. The cinematography was right on. I have lived in Mexico and in Central America and there is little or no public lighting of streets and pathways. It adds to the mystery of the country. The interjection of the bandits shows how Mexicans are victimized on both sides of the border. Crime does not have any borders.