Published: Sun, March 26, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning



Without Name , 31-year-old Cary Joji Fukanaga has crafted a uniquely moving film experience that dramatizes the drive among the poor in Latin America to pull up roots and seek a better life in the US Transcending genres and styles, Sin Nombre , translated "without a name," is performed by mostly non-professional local actors whose weathered faces mirror the harsh realities of their life. The film is shot by cinematographer Adriano Goldman with 35mm film rather than the digital video which is today's norm, and avoids stylistic clichés such as hand-held cameras and dizzier-than-thou fast cutting.

Opening in Tapachula in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico, with a saturated color palette of deep red and orange, the trajectory of this low-budget but beautifully shot thriller follows two parallel threads that meet in the middle . It begins with the initiation of a new member into the Mara Salvatrucha gang, in this case, a twelve-year-old boy called Smiley (Kristyan Ferrer) who has been recruited into the gang by young Willy, aka Casper (Edgar Flores). Smiley must harden the gang ritual where he is thrown to the ground and kicked and beaten thirteen times to prove his toughness. As if that is not enough, the pre-teen is then forced to shoot prisoner from the Chavalas, the rival gang. Breaking the rules, Willy takes Smiley with him to meet his secret girlfriend Martha Marlene (Diana Garcia) but the clandestine meeting ends when sadistic gang leader Lil 'Mago ​​(Tenoch Huerta Mejia) finds out about it and tries to rape her.

In this case, the robbers are Casper and Smiley who have been ordered to join Lil 'Mage. When the leader tries to rape Sayra, however, Casper takes action which ensures that his future is Sayra and will be inextricably linked. To reach the US, Sayra and Willy, now drawn together of mutual need and attraction, have to overcome the network of covert operatives employed by the Mara gang, the danger of the border patrols, and the ordinary Mexicans who throw rocks at them and Put their journey in peril. Powerful performances by Gaitan and Flores create an electric chemistry that wraps our hearts around their struggle to find release from their troubled past.

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Winner of awards for directing and cinematography at Sundance, Sin Nombre Has been attacked by some critics because it is a story about the truth of poor people's lives wrapped in a conventional framework. In my view, that's precisely what gives the film its strength. It is not an easy task for any immigrant who wants to make it to America, and Sin Nombre alerts us to the dangers as well as the opportunities. It succeeds not only the education but the theater, allowing the viewer not only to understand the perils illegal immigrants but to relate emotionally to them the human beings.

Fukanaga has been a criminal or an immigrant but knows full well that the common thread among all people is that of being able to dream of a new day for themselves and the people they love. I have spent two years researching the Mara Salvatrucha gang based in Mexico and Los Angeles, and riding in the top of freight cars with Honduran and Salvadorean immigrants headed towards the U.S. border. The result is both deeply moving in its poetry and disturbing in its violence, a film of heartbreaking sadness but also one of joy and redemption, one of the best so far of 2009.

© 2009 Howard Schumann CineScene < / P>

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