Review: All We Carry


“My father was murdered. I can never get that out of my mind.”

It is spring, 2018. Magdiel, Mirna and their son, Joshua, are on the migrant caravan coming up from Honduras and headed for the US when they meet Cady Voge, filmmaker and journalist, who commits to filming their experience. With persistence against all odds, grief for all they’ve lost, and only what they can carry, their lives are recorded.

At one point, the family is split up when only one seat on a bus is available. Voge stays behind with Magdiel who is soon able to get a ride on a train in an open box car full of migrants headed north. They know that organized criminals climb into these cars to rape, pillage, and kill. Magdiel takes the risk to follow Mirna and his son. Voge must follow along.

Magdiel and Mirna come from a destabilized country where Magdiel’s father was murdered and Mirna’s brother was kidnapped for his land and then killed. Once a police report was filed the trouble began with members being killed off one by one. Mirna was terrified and left with similarly upset Magdiel, on a long journey to what they hoped would be safety and opportunity in the United States.

Voge captures their odyssey through Mexico to a detention center in San Diego. Mirna and Joshua were released to relatives in Seattle but Magdiel was inexplicably and worriedly held for several months. By December 2018, they were once again reunited, but their court case for asylum will not take place for two years.

Voge keeps true to a cinéma vérité mode, revealing only what happens without embellishment or political criticism. However, I would better understand the reason for their request for asylum if she had inserted the US’s role in destabilizing Honduras both politically and economically when rebel forces were working for land reform. Then I would better understand the greater obligation the US might have, as opposed to Mexico or other Central American countries, for granting asylum.

But here comes the big irony. Though the US remains resistant to helping refugees enter America, this little family still needed a place to live. A Seattle synagogue heard about their need and a couple volunteered. They owned a lovely beach-front home next door to their own house on Puget Sound.

The owner’s father had been killed in the Holocaust. He recalled how the US blocked Jews from docking at a US port. His grandfather and family were turned away and later killed – except for his father. After the Holocaust, the father was allowed in. The owner knew how it was to be unwanted and in danger. He gave the Honduran couple the beautiful house next door to him for free for two years.

How the Jewish congregation helped the little family, how the family survived despite the US policy of prohibiting work permits, and how the asylum process operates, are parts of this important documentary. But also please note the activists in the credits, including executive producer America Ferrera, who believe that change has got to come.


Director/Producer/Cinematographer: Cady Voge
Editor/Co-producer: Rachel Clara Reed
Producer: Laura Pilloni
Executive Producers: America Ferrera, Michael Skolnik, Ryan Piers Williams, and Kathryn Moseley
Original Music: Alejandro Starosieslki and Ezequiel Tarica
Consulting Editor: Toby Shimin
Consulting Producers: Dawn Valadez and Rachel Lear

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