Subtitled “The Story of One American School Bus,” this engagingly offbeat, critically acclaimed documentary uses the eponymous vehicle as an effective device to illuminate aspects of Latin American life usually overlooked by northern eyes.
Like many discarded U.S. school buses, this one finds a second life south of the border, and director Kendall follows it as it is auctioned off in Pennsylvania, driven in a hazardous 16-hour trek across Mexico, lovingly redecorated into the gaudy tropical reincarnation known as a “camioneta,” and bought by a Guatemalan family man for whom it will bring financial security as long as he doesn’t become one of the hundreds of local bus drivers regularly murdered by extortionists. Observant and respectful, Kendall’s film is a tribute to the vitality, resourcefulness, and matter-of-fact courage of the people he encounters en route. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. HDCAM video. (MR)