Review of Bolivian “American Visa” as I wait for mine!


American Visa

IMDB

Year: 2005

Director: Juan Carlos Valdivia

Category: Foreign

Rating: 3 out of 5

What better movie could I review waiting outside the US Consulate for an American visa?

This satirical comedy is about Mario’s dreams to join his son for a comfortable life in the United States. After elaborate preparations, his visa to the US is denied. He then tries to commit a robbery to gather the money to get a visa from the black market. In the meanwhile, he meets a philosophically inclined prostitute who loves Bolivia and finds heaven where she is. Most of the movie deals with her dialogue with Mario: a dialogue between different dreams.

Unlike movies from other parts of the world (especially Hollywood), Latin American movies are something that I am able to connect with immediately as an Indian. The sets, stories, aspirations, and a lot else are very similar to what I find at home. Concerned about a potential traffic jam, I have reached the US Consulate one hour before my interview. As I wait for my turn for the US Visa right in front of the US Consulate, I am reminded of this beautiful Bolivian movie I watched in New York.

I am sitting now in a browsing center opposite the US Consulate at Madras, watching a long line of nervous people in the Madras heat. As I wait my turn, I see people holding their aspirations in their plastic folders, refusing to move out of the hot sun even if their interview appointment is a long time away. Some are praying and a few others are engaged in a nervous conversation. One girl is so prepared that coach has even given her a layout of the US Consulate specially marking where the restrooms are! I guess such detailed preparation is making her more nervous than calming. The debate between life in India and the US Visa is raging daily among families here. Like in the Bolivian movie, where there is a chance, the US visa seems to win the day.

Shot in beautiful Bolivia with Mexican stars, the movie may be foreign to many of us in India and elsewhere…but its theme is right from our neighborhood.

This satirical comedy is about Mario’s dreams to join his son for a comfortable life in the United States. After elaborate preparations, his visa to the US is denied. He then tries to commit a robbery to gather the money to get a visa from the black market. In the meanwhile, he meets a philosophically inclined prostitute who loves Bolivia and finds heaven where she is. Most of the movie deals with her dialogue with Mario: a dialogue between different dreams.

Unlike movies from other parts of the world (especially Hollywood), Latin American movies are something that I am able to connect with immediately as an Indian. The sets, stories, aspirations, and a lot else are very similar to what I find at home. Concerned about a potential traffic jam, I have reached the US Consulate one hour before my interview. As I wait for my turn for the US Visa right in front of the US Consulate, I am reminded of this beautiful Bolivian movie I watched in New York.

I am sitting now in a browsing center opposite the US Consulate at Madras, watching a long line of nervous people in the Madras heat. As I wait my turn, I see people holding their aspirations in their plastic folders, refusing to move out of the hot sun even if their interview appointment is a long time away. Some are praying and a few others are engaged in a nervous conversation. One girl is so prepared that coach has even given her a layout of the US Consulate specially marking where the restrooms are! I guess such detailed preparation is making her more nervous than calming. The debate between life in India and the US Visa is raging daily among families here. Like in the Bolivian movie, where there is a chance, the US visa seems to win the day.

Shot in beautiful Bolivia with Mexican stars, the movie may be foreign to many of us in India and elsewhere…but its theme is right from our neighborhood. // –>


About Vivek Srinivasan

I work with the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University. Before this, I worked with the Right to Food Campaign and other rights based campaigns in India. To learn more, click here.

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