Nuyorican Dream


Bottom 40% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2000 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Laurie Collyer, Julia Pimsleur, Katy Chevigny, John Leguizamo, Jellybean Benitez, Aurora Aguero, Victor Garza, Jaime Reyes, Allan Title


The American Nightmare is the opposite of the Dream.. I think you are a special person when you come out of the nightmare. You become intimately more in touch and resilient -- ROBERT TORRES

In an American media landscape offering few Puerto Rican stories, Nuyorican Dream makes an urgent and resounding arrival. Combining cinema verite and personal documentary, director Laurie Collyer delivers a powerhouse of emotion and insight with this chronicle of the struggles and aspirations of three generations of the Marta Gutierrez family.

The film follows Robert Torres, Marta's eldest son and the only one of his family to finish high school and college. College was supposed to lead to the American Dream, but the experience of transcending class has alienated Robert from his classmates and, ultimately, his family. Robert's position between the worlds of school and the street lends the film to a powerful double consciousness: a deeply personal and sympathetic view of his family and an incisive analysis of the effects of colonialism and poverty on Puerto Rican people.

Collyer's camera captures harrowing images of a family in crisis: Sisters Beti and Tati struggle with devastating drug addictions, brother Danny spends half his life in prison, and mother Marta supports the entire extended family through welfare and selling homemade pastel's and used clothing on the street. However, what emerges most strongly about the Gutierrez clan is the fierce love and support that sustains the family. Nuyorican Dream is not just about making it, but about making it with the family intact.


Shari Frilot (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.