Antonio Méndez Esparza / 110 min / 2012 / Drama / Spanish with English subtitles / USA, Spain, Mexico
Winner of the top prize at the Critics’ Week section of the Cannes Film Festival, Antonio Méndez Esparza’s directorial debut radiantly captures the complex homecoming of a loving father. In an unexpected take on the traditional immigrant story, Pedro returns home to a small mountain village in Guerrero, Mexico, after years of working in New York. He finds his daughters older and more distant than he imagined; his wife still has the same smile. The villagers think this year’s crop will be bountiful and there is work in a growing city nearby. But the locals are wise to a life of insecurity, and their thoughts are often of family members or opportunities far away, north of the border.
Antonio Méndez Esparza has made a most remarkable debut. Using non-professional actors, Méndez Esparza gets remarkable performances that provide a richness of nuance and detail to each of his characters going far beyond cliché and stereotype. Rarely has a film about US/Mexican border experience felt so fresh or authentic.