Mojados: Through The Night

First-time feature filmmaker Tommy Davis grew up in McAllen, a Texas town directly across the Rio Grande from Reynosa, Mexico; for him, illegal immigration always had a human face. In 1995, a U.S. Border Patrol crackdown took a new approach to border security, beefing it up at populated checkpoints and leaving only arduous routes across the mountains and...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

  • Watch on
Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
Rating:

First-time feature filmmaker Tommy Davis grew up in McAllen, a Texas town directly across the Rio Grande from Reynosa, Mexico; for him, illegal immigration always had a human face. In 1995, a U.S. Border Patrol crackdown took a new approach to border security, beefing it up at populated checkpoints and leaving only arduous routes across the mountains and desert relatively unpatrolled. Rather than giving up and staying home, migrants took their chances. Davis' short, sad documentary is narrowly focused: It's not about international politics, geopolitical trends, homeland security or the economic repercussions of undocumented and unregulated labor. It simply chronicles one hard crossing by four men — five, actually, since Davis, lugging his camera and battery packs, crossed with them. Davis occasionally steps back from the group, interviewing border agents and a Texas rancher, who complains that mojados tear down his barbed-wire fences and litter the land with cattle-killing trash, though he admits that face to face they seem like "a good group of people." But the film belongs to the migrants: Oso ("Bear"), 55, makes the trip regularly and sinks his earnings into farmland in his native Michoacan. Carpenter Guapo ("Handsome"), wants to give his small daughter opportunities he never had; his 26-year-old brother-in-law, who has a bad leg and is nicknamed Viejo ("Old Man"), lives with his parents and wants to move his wife and children into their own home. Tigre ("Tiger") has been crossing into the U.S. to pick fruit since he was 12; newly married, he also hopes to earn enough to build a house. He's the sole member of the group who'd like some day to stay in the U.S. with his family, learn English and maybe even attend community college with his wife. The others only want to earn some money and go home. The trip is punishing: The inflatable raft that ferries them across the Rio Grande sinks and bitter, unseasonable cold follows drenching rain. They run out of food and drink water from cattle troughs and muddy puddles. Their story ends on a grimly inconclusive note. Oso has made it across; Tigre has gone home; Davis has lost touch with Guapo and Viejo, and a local news report suggests what may have happened to them. Davis' tough, man-of-the-people narration is often annoying, but his words can't diminish the power of his story. (In English and Spanish, with subtitles)

Cast & Details See all »

  • Released: 2005
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: First-time feature filmmaker Tommy Davis grew up in McAllen, a Texas town directly across the Rio Grande from Reynosa, Mexico; for him, illegal immigration always had a human face. In 1995, a U.S. Border Patrol crackdown took a new approach to border secur… (more)

Show More »