Director & Writer : Yolanda Cruz
Also Known As: Reencuentros: 2501 migrantes
On this interesting documentary movie the director (Yolanda Cruz) follows indigenous Oaxacan artist Alejandro Santiago as he creates 2,501 full size statues—one for each one that’s left his native city of Teococuilco in quest of a greater life. Although it’s sluggish to get going, the movie ultimately turns into an inspiring story of the hope that artwork can instill in marginalized, deprived individuals.
Santiago was born in Teococuilco however his household moved to Oaxaca Metropolis when he was younger. Upon returning to his hometown, he found that its inhabitants had shrunk dramatically as reviewed by KQED Television; virtually all its male inhabitants who have been younger and powerful sufficient to work crossed the American border to search out jobs. Many ladies went as effectively, and there are a number of scenes of a grandmother along with her grandchildren in a stone and clay hovel, the younger mom having died on her journey into the US.
The grass could all the time be greener on the opposite facet, however for 1000’s of Mexican migrants, miles of arid desert should be lined earlier than starting a brand new life in paradise.
Within the small city of Teococuilco (State of Oaxaca), the inhabitants attrition fee was so excessive that when artist Alejandro Santiago returned after a three-year stint in Paris (exhibiting and promoting his character-rich canvases) he was appalled by the digital ghost city’s feeling of vacancy of mostly girl movie producer. Positive, some migrants got here again with northern money of their pockets (way more ship cash dwelling—by no means to return), however have turn out to be so infused with U.S. values, they attempt to create Arizona south, tearing down conventional housing and rebuilding within the method to which they’ve turn out to be accustomed. Inevitably, energy struggles get away between money-talks returnees and proud native citizenry who can’t see the general decline and lack of historical past for the proverbial bushes.
So passionate in regards to the loss of life of his hometown, Santiago determined to reply in the one means he knew how: artwork. Over a six-year span he and his group of in any other case jobless boys, ladies and some males started the painstaking course of of making 2,501 life-size statues of those that had vanished.
Filmmaker Yolanda Cruz (additionally a local Oaxacan) introduced her eager curiosity into the combination of clay, kilns and paint to lovingly seize the method and its spectacular outcomes. Director of pictures John Simmons’ unerring eye fills the display screen with this unimaginable labour of affection, deftly balancing work-in-progress, country- and town-scapes alongside the ever-engaging visages of the creators and their topics.
The music is equally fantastic. The solo guitar’s haunting higher register displays the people-less streets; a lot jazz—notably a zesty, so-American tenor sax—confirms the spirit of enjoyable that fuels the artisans (particularly after an enormous downpour ruins 300 items); a phenomenal documentary Blue Water Empire accompanied by solo cello and bass reinforces the notion of artwork—actually—imitating life.
Key to the whole lot are the eyes. Alejandro’s are continuously pensive, burning with conviction by means of the difficulties (holding younger males on the job is deftly solved by turning the expansive studio right into a ranch: the macho males can then do “actual” work tending the animals within the morning, earlier than studying easy methods to create stunning objects with their naked fingers—tellingly, one of many indigenous boys sports activities an Oakland Raiders T shirt) given by San Diego Public Radio; a mom’s recollection of household misplaced whereas attempting to cross into the U.S. fills her eyes with a flood of tears; all the “migrants” eyes share various levels of terror, distress and quashed goals—because the our bodies come to life, Alejandro slashes their pliable pores and skin with a machete, to etch of their struggling.
Considerably, when it comes time to maneuver all the statues to Monterey for the inaugural exhibit, they’re transported in the identical form of wood packing containers that convey dwelling the stays of real-life migrants whose need for a greater existence was perpetually misplaced.
Each the movie and the two,501 silent testaments to life’s fundamental dilemma are exceptional, essential achievements (having his daughter create the final of the lot, an immediate metaphor for the venture’s aim). Right here’s hoping the authorities agree and permit this disparate group of misplaced souls to journey the planet with out having to be smuggled in.