I finally saw the Oscar-nominated documentary Which Way Home over the weekend. And maybe some of you did, too, if you live in New York or LA and had the chance to check out AMC's Best Documentary Feature showcase on Sunday. If not, don't fret, the DVD of the film, which follows Central American children as they travel -- with hopes of immigrating -- to the U.S., will be available for purchase this Monday (March 8), and apparently HBO is re-airing it intermittently.
Anyway, due to the way it's shot, Which Way Home is not really the sort of doc you need to watch on the big screen. Even on my TV it looked quite pixilated, and since HBO was involved in its development, it's possible there was always the idea in mind of shooting for cable presentation (which could be used to argue against its Oscar-worthiness, but that's a topic for another time).
This isn't to criticize its low-budget video look, especially since the lightweight cameras used for the film clearly allowed for better access and coverage of the migrant children's stories. Seeing the Mexican landscapes shown in the film through 35mm or even HD might have been nice, but the filmmakers certainly couldn't have hopped atop freight trains with lots of bulky equipment. Nor would they have gotten the night scenes that appear in the film.