Two Views of La Frontera

A pair of documentaries offer different, but complementary views of life along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Seen through Chantal Akerman’s somber lens, la frontera — the U.S./Mexico border — is imposing and impenetrable. Nearly every story of an attempted crossing that she documents in From the Other Side ends in death — the rest in despair. Though the American economy thrives on undocumented labor, the hostility among border residents toward illegals remains staunch. As a pair of vigilante border guards in Texas tell Akerman, “There’s so many of them, they can take over and do a lot of damage here.”

These xenophobic Texans would likely view Hans Fjellestad’s Frontier Life, about Tijuana youth, as a cautionary tale. That city’s culture is a mélange of Mexican and American styles: musicians fusing traditional norteño elements with electronic music, auto racers customizing classic American cars for the drag strip. While the subjects of From the Other Side fixate on the border that divides the two countries, the youth in Frontier Life revel in its deterioration, in the linked economies, creative collaborations, and intense hybridization. As one Tijuana artist puts it, “Things happen here that could never happen in other places…. This is a giant laboratory.”


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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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