Friday, June 4, 2010

Sin Nombre (y Poca Esperanza)

Going into the theater to see Sin Nombre, I saw a man who said he was about to see it for the third time. Afterwards, I wondered how he was avoiding suicidal tendencies.

This is not a movie one should see for entertainment purposes. It is hard, cruel and does not reinforce your faith in the goodness of human nature. It is a great argument for Total Depravity, in fact. That being said, it should probably be on a list of movies more people in the United States should check out. Because the violence, desperation and lack of reasons to hope that it depicts are a reality for millions of people living outside their borders. It does not change the fact that there is an immigration problem in the United States and that something needs to be fixed, but it will help people to be informed and to not take the human aspect of the problem out of the equation.

The story focuses on two people: a young Mexican trapped in the life of a Mara Salvatrucha gang, and a Honduran girl attempting to migrate to the States. They meet when the girl and her family are attacked by the gang on top of a train they are riding. Their journey and story end at the border. There is incredible violence in the gang life and it is apparently true to life as are the circumstances of the migrants riding the trains across Mexico.

The director, Cary Joji Fukunaga, went to great lengths to try to portray the story as authentically as possible. He also one the best director prize at Sundance, as did the cinematography of this film. It is very well made, and the beauty of the camera work stands in stark contrast to the ugliness of the story.

Seeing this movie might open your eyes to the suffering of people outside your circumstances, but sadly, most of us probably couldn’t handle it.

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