Mon-Thurs 6:00 8:00
(Mexico / 2009 / dir Cary Joji Fukunaga)
Winner of the Best Director award at Sundance, this powerful, self-assured feature debut offers a persuasive look at the illegal immigration issue from the vantage points of Central American migrants and the brutish gangs who prey on them.
Sayra (Paulina Gaitan) is a Honduran teen who joins her long-absent father and uncle on a journey to a hoped-for life in New Jersey. Crossing over into Mexico, the trio, along with many dozens of other immigrants, wait in the Tapachula rail yard to climb atop a freight train bound for the U.S. border. But before they can leave, the refugees are robbed by the Mexican Mara Salvatrucha gang, a crew whose casual sadism is disconcertingly convincing and sets up a threat of sudden violence that courses through the film. But there’s gentleness here, too, when Willy (Edgar Flores), one of the gang members, reveals a surprising nobility. Talented new writer-director Cary Joji Fukunaga spent two months in Mexico interviewing and riding with some 700 immigrants prior to shooting the film. With documentary-like texture, he succeeds in conveying a palpable feel of authenticity that greatly enhances the film’s elemental tale of tragedy, struggle, and unexpected tenderness.
R / 96 mins