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  • Lesson plan
  • Grades 9-10

Humanizing Immigrant Stories

Film Clips

Clip 1: Getting to Know the Family (2:30 min.) – The clip begins at 4:52 with Pita showing a picture he identifies as his cousins. It ends at approximately 7:17, just after Mariela says “Don’t look for anything else.” We meet Mariela, Pita and the children, as well as get a glimpse into their lives, including apparently routine power outages. Pita shows pictures of his family, who fled Cuba. He says that he hasn’t seen his father in forty years.

Clip 2: Failed Attempts (5:10 min.) – The clip begins at 16:28 with Mariela quoting a revolution slogan: “For the humble and by the humble.” It ends at 21:38 as Mariela kisses Pita and walks inside. The clip includes people repairing what they have because they can’t afford to replace it. We also learn that Mariela once tried to leave, but her attempt to make it to the U.S. failed within site of the coast. The clip also covers reasons that people leave, including the hope of a better life for the children and the belief that the U.S. will offer benefits and work opportunities.

Clip 3: Cubans Don’t Hate Cuba (2:25 min.) – The clip begins at 34:41 when Mariela says “It was completely unexpected.” It ends at 37:06 with a wide shot of the house and of the car in the dark. We learn that Mariela’s brother Roilan has fled and no one has heard from him yet. Pita questions the rosy picture that so many Cubans have of life in the U.S. Mariela makes the case that Cubans don’t leave because they hate their country; they leave for opportunities and hope to return.

Clip 4: Talking with Roilan (5:50 min.) – The clip begins at 45:00 with a long shot of the street at twilight. It ends at 50:50 after Mariela says, “Maybe it could be good. Maybe.” Mariela talks to Roilan, who has reached the U.S. safely and is working as a landscaper in Arizona. Pita says he would support his wife’s dream to leave but doubts that she would be as successful as she imagines.

About the authors

Faith Rogow

Faith Rogow, Ph.D., is the co-author of The Teacher's Guide to Media Literacy: Critical Thinking in a Multimedia World (Corwin, 2012) and past president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education. She has written discussion guides and lesson plans for more than 250 independent films.