El Norte

Featured In Issue 138, January/February 2009

WSR Score3.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
The Criterion Collection
(Catalog Number):
(MPAA Rating):
(Rating Reason):
(Retail Price):
(Disc Type):
Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
(Widescreen Edition):
(Full Screen Edition):
(Running Time In Minutes):
(Color Type):
(Chaptered/Scene Access):
(Closed Captioned):
(Regional Coding):
Not Indicated
(Theatrical Year):
(Theatrical Release):
(Direct-To-Video Release):
(Disc Release Date):
(THX® Digitally Mastered):
Gregory Nava
(Screenplay/Written By):
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer):
(Visual Effects):
(Costume Designer):
(Supervising Sound Editors):
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers):
(Academy Awards):
(Principal Photography):
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio):
(Measured Disc Aspect Ratio):
(Disc Soundtrack):
Dolby Digital 1.0
(Theatrical Sound):
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(DTS Bit Rate):
(Dolby Digital Bit Rate):
(Additional Languages):
(French Language):
(Spanish Language):
(Chinese Language):
(Cantonese Language):
(Mandarin Language):
(Japanese Language):
(Italian Language):
(German Language):
(Portuguese Language):

El Norte (The North) is the story of the personal travels of immigrants crossing the border to America. Brother and sister Enrique (Villalpando) and Rosa (Gutiérrez) flee persecution at home in Guatemala and journey north, through Mexico and on to the United States, with the dream of starting a new life. (Gary Reber)

Special features include audio commentary by Director and Co-Writer Gregory Nava, In The Service Of The Shadows: The Making of el Norte video interviews with Director Nava, Producer Anna Thomas, and Actors Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez and David Villalpando, and Set Designer David Wasco (HD 58:20); Scouting In Chiapas, which is a collection of photographs of the village of Huixtan in Ciapas, Mexico; The Journal Of Diego Rodriguez Silva black-and-white short film (SD 30:06); and the theatrical trailer.

The 1080p AVC 1.78:1 picture quality is good for a low-budget 1984 film. This is the best presentation to be released yet. Contrast is generally good, with deep blacks and generally good shadow delineation, though at times wanting. The color pallette is perfectly natural, with rich, colorful hues and natural fleshtones. Resolution is pretty good, and some scenes exhibit excellent detail in faces and textures. Noise is noticeable throughout but is not terribly objectionable. The amazing quality of the transfer is the naturalness and realism that the picture often imparts. (Gary Reber)

The monaural soundtrack is often nicely recorded but otherwise undistinguished. (Gary Reber)