Synopsis by Mark Deming
An impoverished Mexican musician weighs his love for his country against his desire for a better life in this lyrical documentary from filmmaker Natalia Almada. Magdiel is a singer and songwriter who was born and raised in La Reforma, a community along the border of Mexico and the United States. While Magdiel's father earns a meager living as a fisherman, the young man is frustrated by the grinding poverty and dearth of opportunities which surround him. Magdiel writes songs in the mold of his hero Chalino Sánchez, a narcocorrido singer who gained a large and loyal following for his songs celebrating the exploits of border-town drug smugglers before his death in 1992. Sánchez's songs hit close to home in La Reforma, where the marijuana trade is the most lucrative game in town, but Magdiel wavers between dreams of making a career in music and jumping the border into America to earn a decent living. To the Other Side was screened in competition at the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival.
border [geographic], composer, dilemma, drug-smuggler, exchange, illegal-alien, immigration, journey, Mexico, poverty, street-musician, struggle