. . . And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

. . . And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him 

Adapted from Tomas Rivera's autobiographical novel, . . . And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him sheds rare light on a neglected corner of American history. Set in 1952, the film is a series of carefully observed vignettes focusing on the travails of a family of Chicano migrant laborers. A veteran documentary and educational filmmaker making his feature debut, director Severo Perez at times succumbs to the dull sanctimony characteristic of American Playhouse, one of the film's producers, but he and his team put excellent production values on the screen, especially considering that the shoot covered 47 locations throughout the midwest. The cast of mostly Mexican American actors includes Jose Alcala as Marcos, the film's 12-year-old protagonist, and Rose Portillo and Marco Rodriguez as his persevering parents. This is an honest, poetical appraisal of the harsh plights and small joys of a nuclear family under duress. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday, June 10, 4:00 and 6:00, and Sunday, June 11, 4:00, 443-3737.

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