Synopsis by Brian Whitener
This landmark of Chicano cinema is an adaptation of Tomas Rivera's 1971 novel of the same title. Told from the perspective of Marcos, the 12-year-old son of migrant Mexican-American farm workers, the film follows their travels over the course of a year, each of its 12 sections linked to a month of the calendar. The family starts off in Texas at the beginning of harvest season. Their hardscrabble journey takes them across the length and breadth of the Midwest. Along the way, Marcos and his family encounter a rich, difficult, and, at times, pathetic cast of characters including other migrant workers, a shoe salesman, and, in the most startling part of the film, white Americans. Through these encounters, Marcos comes to understand his place in the order of things, namely, near the bottom, discovers the power of familial bonds to comfort and overcome hardship, and uncovers in himself a desire to learn and educate.
poor-family, family, farmhand, migrant-worker, victim, alcoholism, education