Cochise County U.S.A. –
Cries From The Border
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
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
- Nicholas Sheffo