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The Golden Dream – 06/07/2014 @ The Watershed, Bristol.

July 22, 2014

Known more for his work as a cinematographer, Diego Quemada-Diez has made his feature debut, and what a debut it is. Initially set in a slum in Guatemala centred around children trying to cross the US border to seek a better life, Quemada-Diez researched the story by interviewing real life young people who have attempted this themselves and the horrific experiences they endured doing it.
Juan, Sara and Samuel are three teenagers who escape their slum to begin hopping freights to the United States. Sara has to cut her hair short and disguise herself as a boy as she understands the risks of being a young girl attempting something this potentially dangerous. During their travels, they meet Chauk, a native American who cannot speak a word of Spanish. He joins the group despite Juan’s initial hostility and together they endure many awful events that happen to them. When things seem to be going well for the group, the train is suddenly raided by people traffickers looking for young women. Also, there are teenage scammers working for illegal employers which the characters fall for. When these events happen and the characters are prised apart from each other, your heart sinks like a stone. Later, the remaining characters have to deal with border patrol and they need to attempt to find people they can trust who know of a way through the American border.
What the Director has created here is something very harrowing. It is what you don’t see that is most disturbing. The writing is also very clever. The dialogue is very minimal throughout the entire film as there is a character who cannot speak Spanish. There is still a lot a of character depth through the actions they choose to escape poverty for a better life. It is also a very confronting film pointing out the problems of de-regulated capitalism and all it’s inequalities and how it has effected countries in central America. It is a very bleak and complex situation which most people either turn a blind eye to or would treat these human beings like dogs. The lack of compassion from not only Americans, but their own people is astounding. It reminds us that atrocities like these continue to be a daily occurrence which needs to be looked at.
This for me is a film which everyone must see. It is not just an educational film, but a fine example of visual poetry. It shows the beautiful rural dwellings of Guatemala and Mexico and how such human cruelty and barbarism could co-exist in this natural beauty. The performances are excellent as it is more in the children’s faces which give us all we need to try and understand their plight which we could never imagine or fully understand. I could not help but compare this to Ken Loach’s ‘Bread & Roses’ and coming to the logical conclusion that his is far more superior! Truly exceptional work.

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From → Film Review

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