"El Norte" - the north, is a movie about fulfilling the American dream. It tells the story of Enrique and Rosa, the main characters in the movie, Guatemalan siblings leaving their homeland for the safety and promise of the United States, after their father is murdered and their mother vanishes, both at the hands of the military regime. .
The movie is split in three main parts. Part I - "Arthuro Xuncax" surprises the beauty of the Guatemalan countryside, with its green mountains, the local people in their brightly colored traditional clothing and their simple beautiful homes. There Mayan music is also present everywhere, as well as the candles - a sign of purity and eternal joy.
But instantly this frame is being ruptured by the arrival of the soldiers, who murder Enrique's father and take as a hostage his mother. This is the time when the two kids think about the North, as a possible escape from the regime and terror.
Part II, "El Coyote" follows Rosa and Enrique through Mexico, where they plan to find a guide, who could take them to the U.S. As soon as they arrive in Tijuana, lots of "Coyotes" present themselves as being the ones who can take them to the Promised Land.
This is the time when Mexico is compared with the U.S., and camera focuses on shots of both ugly and dirty houses and old and nice cars.
Part III, shows Enrique and Rosa in U.S., each one of them working and setting up. A camera shot focuses on the flushing toilet in the hotel room, fact that they heard about in Guatemala. .
"El Norte" portrays faithfully the plight of Central American political refugees, as well as the aesthetic and religious beauty of Indian culture. It is clear that to thru the end of the movie, Enrique jockeys for a position on a truck, holding up his arms, in order to show their strength. It is clear in this moment, as well as when Rosa gets sick, that they only traded a familiar oppression, for a foreign one.