Star – Mexico
Genre – World Cinema > Drama
Run Time – 108 minutes
Certificate – 12
Country – Mexico
Amazon – £5.00 DVD
Awards – 37 Wins & 21 Nominations
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
It’s been a long year of immigration and refugees stories in Europe, the queue stretching back to the Middle East. Some people would say that’s a dole queue. 50% of the one million who have made the journey so far in 2015 are from Syria and the rest seizing their chance to join the queue. Those who have made it will enjoy, on average, at least five years of welfare. It’s no surprise they keep coming. Only when the little boy that looked like our white kids in his Sunday best drown did we even take note of the crises. But in the US this crisis has been going on forever from South America up to the Mexican border, the main reason why Donald Trump has got so much traction this year. His comments about Mexicans being rapist and criminals really hit home in the Republican base. But this is a nation built on immigration and how soon they forget. Maybe because it’s most famous immigrant is now the President they fear that the most. Just as Trump has a vast amount of money and business deals tied up with the Muslims and Arabs he so enjoys slating publicly he will also have lots of South and Central Americans working for him. His words are empty entertainment and aimed only at the stupid. Immigrants are a vital source of cheap labor to the US economy the way the Eastern Europeans are to us to bring down inflation and labor costs and so white Americans often discount how perilous their life is in that region.
The Golden Dream is not the first award winning movie on the topic of Central American migration to America. In a sense this is what the phrase The American Dream really means. Heli, another film from Mexico, was the most recent I have seen and like those Mexicans on the Texas border, they will just keep coming and coming as there are many stories to be told on this harrowing journey.
Brandon López as Juan
Rodolfo Domínguez as Chauk
Carlos Chajon as Samuel
Karen Noemí Martínez Pineda as Sara
Héctor Tahuite ... Gregorio
Young Guatemalan teenagers Samuel (Carlos Chajon), Gregario (Héctor Tahuite), Juan (Brandon López) and his girlfriend Sara (Karen Noemí Martínez Pineda) meet up and prepare for their epic 1400 mile trip to America, hoping to sneak over the border from Mexico for a new life. Sara knows if she is seen as a girl on the daunting trip the danger increases radically and so straps herself up, cuts her hair and puts on a cap.
Taking a boat down the river they are dropped off in daylight near the railway line in the countryside, jumping on the rumbling creaking diesel train with hundreds of other immigrants heading north. Whilst waiting by the track a young native Tzotil Indian lad called Chauk (Rodolfo Dominguez) decides to tag along with the gang, Samuel taking an instant dislike of him, but the others fine about it, the first levels of racism arriving in the movie.
By the time they reach the Guatemalan border Gregario drops out and the three press on. But they are caught on the other side by the Mexican cops and shaken down and have most of their stuff taken away, including their shoes, the taste of things to come. But this is just the start of their problems as they rejoin the now packed train roofs on the railway moving up the spine of Mexico as the young naïve teenagers encounter the constant threat of the Mexican army, the brutal local drug cartels and the reality that they wont be that welcome in America.
Given the racist hatred toward Latin immigrants by certain Americans, so eloquently represented by Donald Trump, this is a film that will help increase much needed solidarity as well as deliver a powerful dramatic tale that succeeds in cinematic terms about a well trodden immigrant road.
Through little dialogue, mostly improvised by the nonprofessional cast, director Quemada-Díez creates much compassion toward his young travelers and the harsh emotional truths they uncover. By cramming in all of the possible dangers an immigrant will face on that journey we have a surprisingly powerful tail that concludes with the shocking ending.
With ever present subtle racism, the exploitation of the immigrants at all levels and the constant threats, this film mixes moments of humor, pathos and real violence to great effect. There are not too many subtitles to worry about and the silence and the plentiful gentle hum of conversation between strangers on a shared pilgrimage are quietly soothing. It’s not one of those intense talky foreign movies.
It’s probably suited to foreign movie fans and enjoyable enough if that’s your thing. It’s well acted and the idea of suing naïve and innocent young cast really helps the piece. Apparently the kids were auditioned from local schools in Mexico and had little acting training. The film also looks beautiful as the train’s snake their way through stunning green forests and over pristine blue rivers crashing down from the many towering mountain rangers down there. It also doesn’t hint of the twists and shocks to come so when they hit you in regular intervals you are taken aback.
Imdb.com – 7.7/10.0 (2,882votes)
Rottentomatos.com –90% critic’s approval
Metacriitc.com – 76% critic’s approval
Wall Street Journal –‘The filmmaking is fluid and electric; the acting, precise; the archetypal storytelling, seamless and brutal’.
The New York Times –‘Despite a tough and rather bleak story, this Central American drama is bolstered by strikingly beautiful cinematography and involving characters’.
The Playlist –‘Diez has created one of the year's most scathing looks at one of the world's most misrepresented human acts
Village Voice –‘Quemada-Diez's approach emphasizes nature and naturalism, and the film never pretends that this adventure isn't dangerous and terrifying’.
Total Film –‘Quemada-Díez doesn't play soft, and the stinging climax really sticks with you’.
The Cleveland Times –‘This film carries a similar weightiness and moral heft to those tomes to mortality and realpolitik, yet retains a dreamlike quality that at times leaves the film in debt as much to Terrence Malick as Alejandro González Iñárritu’.
My mother subscribes to Zee TV, however after 12 midnight, Cable & Wireless cut it off and replace it with Asianet. Now as I have seen them both I can say that I find Asianet to have better content, i.e the films shown are better than Zee TV and the music shows, such as MTV India are excellent for Asians who want to keep up with all the latest videos and music in India. Unfortunately our cable providers are reluctant to give us this channel seperately, a shame, as I would like to see all the other youth orientated programs that I have heard so much about.