The Other Side- Love and Longing at the Mexican Border is a short documentary by Griselda San Martin, a documentary photographer and visual journalist.
Every Saturday and Sunday, there is a section of the US-Mexico border wall in San Diego, California that becomes accessible on the US side for people to meet with loved ones on the Mexican side. This area is called Friendship Park, and it is the only federally established binational meeting place along the 2,000-mile border dividing the United States and Mexico. Griselda notes the contrast between the two sides: On the Mexican side, it is always accessible and not guarded. It is painted with colourful murals, and there is food and mariachis, but on the American side there is a second fence, it is unpainted and is closely guarded by border patrol.
Griselda began documenting some of the encounters at Friendship Park and became particularly interested in Jose Marquez upon hearing him serenade his daughter on the American side. Jose becomes the subject of this documentary. He is a 67-year-old Mariachi singer. He worked in San Diego for 18 years before he was deported to Mexico. That was 15 years ago, and since then, he has been coming to visit his daughter, Susanna once a month at Friendship Park.
Griselda says, “I was touched by the story of Jose Marquez and his daughter Susanna. So much so, that two months after I met them, I was back in Tijuana to shoot this short documentary. My goal was to address the issue of the thousands of families who are suffering the tragedy of familial separation.”
Feature image is also by Griselda San Martin.
Her work explores transnational issues and focuses on concepts of identity and belonging. She is interested in in-depth stories that transcend borders and cultures and challenge popular assumptions and dominant media discourses.