THE SHORT LIFE OF JOSÉ ANTONIO GUTIERREZ
Running time 90 minutes
Directed by Heidi Specogna
Written by Heidi Specogna and Erika Harzer
Heidi Specogna’s The Short Life of José Antonio Gutierrez, in Spanish, English and German, with English subtitles, is having its New York premiere at the Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue, from April 27 to May 3. The greatest irony of the film is that this well-publicized story of the first American soldier to be killed in the Iraq War should be examined in depth by a German film director. Marine Lance Corporal José Antonio Gutierrez was a Guatemalan street kid who dreamed of a better life, immigrated to the U.S. and enlisted in the Marine Corps in order to become an American citizen. He thus joined the ranks of approximately 32,000 so-called “green card soldiers”—non-American citizens serving in the armed forces in order to obtain U.S. citizenship as compensation for their service. Now, more than ever, it should be seen here in the U.S. for its ironies, both implicit and explicit.