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A 3 Minute Hug
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A 3 Minute Hug is a documentary account of an unusual 2018 event allowing people on either side of the border between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez in Mexico to cross under supervision and spend a few minutes with family members. Parents, kids, and other family members separated in some cases for years are reunited for a brief time in the hot sun, and hugs are the main method of celebration, mourning, and communication.
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What's the story?
A 3 MINUTE HUG is a documentary set at the U.S.-Mexico border where in May of 2018 separated families waited on either side to have a brief moment with loved ones not seen in many years. Haunting music accompanies this brief reconnection allowing husbands to hug wives, parents to hug children, and siblings and cousins to reconnect. Few words are included -- in Spanish with English subtitles -- allowing the forlorn faces, tears, and embraces to speak for themselves. At the film's end, the name of the group that organized the event is briefly displayed, The Border Network for Human Rights, a Texas-based organization advocating for immigration reform and tracking cases of immigrant abuse by the U.S. federal government.
Is it any good?
This bittersweet reunion documentary is sure to be a moving experience for families. Everardo Gonzalez, director of A 3 Minute Hug, wisely chose to stay out of the way of his subjects, who in their simple reunions provided more drama, pathos, laughter, and tears than most other movies of three times the length. The film beautifully captures the urgency, joy, and, ultimately, the sadness of these great displays of love and affection. Tears of joy give way to tears of loss as all parties but the smallest babies know they will go back to their respective sides and perhaps never see loved ones again.
Using no formal narrative, the film manages to convey that all people are the same. Members of the Latinx community are observed here, but they could just as easily be replaced with people grouped in other distinguishing categories -- by religion, ethnicity, language, skin color, sexual orientation, economic privilege -- and their actions and emotions would undoubtedly be identical.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why some countries seem to have tough immigration policies. Can you think of reasons such policies might exist?
Do you think there's a solution to the problem illustrated in A 3 Minute Hug, or do you think people have made choices and simply need to live with the consequences?
Why do you think people from poorer countries are willing to face danger and threats to their safety in order to come to the United States?
For kids who love documentaries
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