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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Political > Immigration > Genocide > Cochise County, U.S.A. (Documentary)

Cochise County U.S.A. – Cries From The Border (Documentary)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Documentary: C+



Trying to conjure the legendary success of Barbara Koppel’s Harlan County U.S.A., Mercedes Maharis’ Cochise County U.S.A. (2005) is a mixed work about a part of the U.S./Mexican border that is claimed as the weakest and least protected of the entire line in this 69 minutes-long work.


Included are statistics about money lost to illegal immigrant costs, that the U.S. economy might collapse without this illegal labor, interviews with some immigrants, immigrant-rights persons and county citizens who are unhappy with some vandalism and other problems they blame the immigrants for.  It is a bizarre mix that never paints a coherent picture of what is going on and Maharis does not seem to know how to put a coherent, journalistic point of view fourth.


With the inclusion of anti-immigrant songs and a portrait later in the work of the downside of the immigrants “coming” into the country, the result has the feel of out of whack anti-immigrant propaganda.  The immigrants are reduced to night-vision video blurbs for the most part.  When county residents start writing the immigrants off as “terrorists” because someone set a fire and that the government needs to get down there to stop “terrorists” in the name of national security, as if that happened all the time, those on camera embarrass themselves.  Maharis could have taken more time and made the work longer my making this more well rounded, but as it stands, Miss Koppel has nothing to worry about.  Cochise County U.S.A. is ultimately race-baiting (intended or not) instead of dealing with the real issues of immigration and a very weak border.  The length is simply not enough to boot.


The 1.33 X 1 image is a mix of various quality NTSC video and is softer than usual throughout.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is simple stereo at best, with compression and various quality throughout.  There are no extras.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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