To and Fro | Chicago Reader

To and Fro

There are more moving films about corruption and exploitation in Mexico, but Salvador Aguirre's debut shows how a lack of a sense of collective self-worth among the Indians there allows and perpetuates social injustice. The protagonist is a half-Indian peasant who literally doesn't know his place—a victim of his own gullibility, his own illusory striving after the power, status, and autonomy denied him as a “damned Indian.” The film isn't structured around identification with the central character, whose self-knowledge and awareness of his own compromised situation are wildly flawed. We learn about his past only in fragments, through the bits and pieces he left scattered when he went off to get rich in the States. Allied with the oppressor and the oppressed, disenfranchised from any class, cultural, or national identity, he's doomed to be a wetback on either side of the border. 92 min.

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