Through moments of sacrifice and also of joy, elderly Latinos find the courage to forge a new life in the United States. An elderly woman reads a poem from her newfound love. A little boy caresses his grandmother's tired face. Octogenarians study for their citizenship test. And a 98-year-old widow dances and prays for two more years.
AWARDS & FESTIVALS
Winner Outstanding Documentary – Angelus Film Festival
Winner Best Short Film – Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Audience Award – Short Escape Brussels
Official Selection United Nations Association Film Festival
Official Selection Boston Latino International Film Festival
Infused with the vibrant Latino culture, with moments of sweetness and also with sacrifice and pain, Danza del Viejo Inmigrante is a film that looks into the hearts of Latino elderly in California through a series of interwoven portraits. Set against the backdrop of the city of San Francisco (which was itself founded by immigrants), the film presents the stories of a handicapped grandmother raising her 7 year-old grandson, a 79-year-old maid’s struggle to gain citizenship, a couple that has found love late in life, and a 98-year-old widow who prays for two more years of life. Together, they tell a larger story of the challenges and opportunities facing elderly immigrants living in the United States, as well as more universal life stories of aging, family ties, and love.
To be an immigrant in the United States is particularly challenging for the elderly. They find it difficult to overcome cultural, linguistic, and racial barriers. Lack of English fluency hampers their ability to access healthcare services, to get help when they encounter abuse, and to participate as citizens of the United States. According to an INS estimate, among the 400,000 Hispanic elderly eligible for naturalization, few make the attempt, daunted by the process or unable to access the necessary services. An estimated two out of every three Hispanic elderly live near or below the poverty line, and it is under these conditions that nearly 425,000 Hispanic elders are attempting to raise their grandchildren. At great personal sacrifice, they struggle so that the next generation will attain the American Dream.
This film puts a human face on the longstanding debate over immigration reform. It serves as an educational platform and serves to inspire immigrants to become naturalized citizens of the United States. However, above all, Danza del Viejo Inmigrante is a human story meant to touch and captivate the hearts of a broad audience, who, no matter their age or where they come from, must reconcile their dreams with mortality.