. . . and the earth did not swallow him
Projects | . . . and the earth did not swallow him
The film is an adaptation of the prize-winning novel . . . y no se lo trago la tierra by Tomas Rivera. Set in 1952, and seen through the eyes of Marcos, a twelve- year-old boy, the story follows a family’s migrant journey through a year in their lives. Marcos is the second son of a migrant farm worker family; his brother is missing in action in the Korean war.
The family travels to Minnesota, following the crops. The housing is awful, TB goes untreated, water and shelter are not a given. For a few terrible weeks, Marcos’ parents leave him in the care of a couple who turn out be not what they appear to be. He is expelled from school for fighting. He finds solace in a graveyard where his recollections of the poignant, sometimes funny and sometimes terrifying experiences become a magical voyage of self-discovery.
“…AND THE EARTH DID NOT SWALLOW HIM.” This is a quiet, sentimental but compelling story of a migrant Mexican-American family in the 1950’s. There is altogether too much voice-over narration in the tale, as the 12-year hero, Marcos, tells of his family’s annual migration to pick the crops. But the film accumulates its power through calm realism and small touches: the way Marco’s mother builds a small bedroom shrine and prays for his elder brother, lost in the Korean war; the way the nurse in a new school searches Marcos for lice and finds them. (“We couldn’t help getting them from the chicken coops,” he tells us.”)
- New York Times, 04/11/1997, by Caryn James.
“A moving spiritual odyssey”
- Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
“The film accumulates power in calm realism and small touches.”
- Caryn James, New York Times
“Powerful and riveting family portrait.”
- John Voorhees, Seattle Times
“A beautiful story about a hard life.”
- Robin Dougherty, Miami Herald
Gold Medal, 12th Annual Television Movie Awards, 1997
Jury Awards, Vina del Mar International Film Festival (Chile), 1996
Sol Award, Best Feature film, CineSol Latino Film Festival, 1995
Best Feature, Minneapolis Riverton Film Festival, 1995
Un Certain Regard selection, Cannes International Film Festival, 1995
Premio Mesquite, Best Feature Film, San Antonio Cinefestival, 1995
Best Director, Cairo (Egypt) International Film Festival, 1994
Best of the Fest Audience Award, Santa Barbara Film Festival, 1994
Best Feature, San Diego Independent Film Festival, 1994
A film written, produced and directed by Severo Perez
Producer/Executive Producer for KPBS: Paul Espinosa
Music by Marcos Loya
Cinematography by Virgil Harper
Edited by Susan Heick and Howard Hurd
Starring: Jose Alcala, Rose Portillo, Marco Rodriguez, Danny Valdez, Lupe Ontiveros, Sal Lopez, Art Bonilla, Jeffrey Licon, Kevin Sifuentes, Chris Hendrie, Tony Genaro.