PARAISO TRAVEL is an intense little film that joins the ranks of the other multiple films dealing with immigration, this one as seen from the eyes of those immigrating to the US. It is a hard driving film with many messages about not only immigration but the rarely discussed aspects of the torturous route to get to this country AND the resultant disappointment/disenchantment with the America of the north - the supposed land of dreams. Written by Jorge Franco Ramos and Juan Rendón and directed by Simon Brand, the film was made with a cast of relatively unknown actors (with the notable exception of John Leguizamo) and one wonders had the actors been more experienced would the film have been stronger.
The story relates the problems of two young people Reina (Angelica Blandon) and Marlon (Aldemar Correa) who 'escape' from Medillin, Colombia to make their way as immigrants passing through Guatemala, Mexico and Texas on their way to New York in search of the American Dream. The film is shot in flashback fashion: we are lead to believe that the two 'lovers' focus so strongly on their dream that they lose themselves in that pursuit. What this film does in very strong fashion is show the grueling, harsh, despicable events that occur to immigrants in the South American countries on their way 'north' - some of the events are difficult to watch. But even more strange is the response of the immigrants who do succeed in making it into the USA - without knowledge of the English language or the American labor situation and atrocious living conditions imposed on illegal immigrants. Marlon in particular seems to view the plight of the illegals (street workers, flop houses, menial jobs) with disgust, choosing to focus instead on his fruitless plight to regain his lost Reina separated from him after a misunderstanding in New York. To say more would spoil the ending. Suffice it to say that the film show the ugly side of immigration and the consequences that too often replace the dreams of those who make the dangerous trip to this land of possibility. It is another side of the coin we should all know. Grady Harp, April 10