As I left the theater after watching “The Visitor” I started thinking about all the things we have lost in the last eight years. Loss of civil liberties and justice are a couple of the main casualties that have been delivered to the working class behind the veil of the “war on terror.” This movie highlights the human victims of the terrorism that has been used against all of us.
Richard Jenkins is stunning as a stodgy old economics professor who is literally brought back to life by a couple of young immigrants who describe themselves as “illegal.” When the young man is detained, you can see the helplessness on the face of the newly revived professor who has his new friend snatched from him by a couple of goons. His pain is palpable and the rebirth of his humanity is visible.
The scenes from the detention center are accurate (I have been inside detention centers myself) and the inhuman treatment of detainees is also dead on.
As in most flicks from the U.S., the emphasis is on individual effort to combat injustice. Our rugged individualism has made us easy prey for capitalists and their henchmen. What is missing is an acknowledgement of the need for mass action to demand justice for immigrants. People are left thinking the only way to support immigrants is through individual legal efforts.
In individual cases, this may be true, but I just attended a Jobs with Justice conference where they talked about coordinated efforts in different parts of the country that are happening to counteract the vicious immigration raids.
Groups of people can work together to make detentions and detention centers a public relations nightmare for the government. With coordinated planning and organization, many immigrants can be saved from detention and eventual deportation.
Hundreds of thousands of people have marched in the streets around the country demanding justice, dignity and respect for immigrants. Many organizations have taken up the issue and are fighting hard to reverse the negative direction our country has taken with Bush and his wealthy cronies at the helm. With a united effort, we can move forward and set an example for the world to admire in how we treat our diverse population.
Directed By Tom McCarthy
Overture Films, 2008
1 hr. 48 min., PG-13