Tuesday 3 July 2012

Sin Nombre

(image from

We watched this film on Sunday night and I've been thinking about it a lot since then.  You know how some films just stick with you?  The title means, "Without a Name" which I suppose is aimed the character of Willy/El Casper - a young man who's part of the Mexican Mara Gang but who's heart is torn by a girl from downtown.  The majority of the film is set on a train running through Mexico, full of Central Americans making their way North to the USA.  I like films with travel in.  Big skies.  Vibrant colours.  Movement.  But I realise it's easy to romaticise things.  I'm sure riding on the roof of a train really isn't that exciting for someone with no papers, who could get deported at any time.  I'm sure it's not that fun when the rain falls.  When you've been robbed, or seen someone fall off the train, and when it becomes a matter of life or death, then I guess the view doesn't mean that much.  I guess another reason for the title is the fact that immigrants are often treated as nameless, as a faceless threat, as the enemy.  It makes me so angry because we really have no idea what kind of life people are leaving, and what they go through to try and find a better life.  Do we ever attempt to walk in their shoes??

 What I liked about the film is that it did manage to convey the gravity and desperation of the situation that the attempted immigrants, and escaping gang member, were in, yet there was something really beautiful about it too.  There wasn't a lot of dialogue, and it wasn't necessary.  The connections between people, the complexity of relationships, and inner struggles, were communicated really well by the actors' body language and faces.  Above all, what I thought was most powerful about it, was the compassion, and the emphasis on how we all want to belong, to be safe somewhere.

So, hooray for a good film, and thank you to writer and director, Cary Fukunaga

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