Vicente (Gabino Rodríguez) is a young farmer in a rural village who scrapes by while taking care of his ill grandmother. Several of Vicente’s uncles intend to their ailing mother’s land without her knowledge. Vicente seeks help from the municipal president who, between shooting hoops on a desolate court, tells him that if he wants justice, he must head to the capital to meet with government officials.
Although he hasn’t seen her since he was a child, Vicente sets off in search of his mother, who works as a maid in maze-like Mexico City. With the help of his mother’s employer, a sophisticated middle-aged woman, he finds the government offices where he presents his case. His situation isn’t easily resolved, especially since he does not have the deed to his grandmother’s plot of land, and Vicente finds the complexities of the legal system to be completely overwhelming.
Meanwhile, his mother is faced with a very disturbing request by her employers, which she feels obligated to fulfill. The movie, shot documentary-style with a very low budget, many times in clandestine form (as in the subway shots) is a collection of vivid images of poverty, lack of communication, loneliness, and search for justice. This is young director Nicolás Pereda’s first movie, and it was honored with the Best Mexican Film award at the Morelia Film Festival.
The dialogue between the characters is as sparse as the land that is being disputed, and most of the time, there isn’t much to say: life is boiled down to the minimum necessities. This is a slow-moving, contemplative movie, with many still shots lasting several minutes, giving the viewer plenty of time to comprehend the characters’ emotions and to reach their own conclusions. There’s no real climax or revelation; but this is a masterful collection of images that’s part movie, part painting. —CineVegas
A rising star of contemporary Mexican cinema, Nicolás Pereda (b. 1982) is a central figure in a diverse group of Ibero-American directors whose innovative approaches to narrative filmmaking over the last ten years have together defined one of the most exciting trends in world cinema. Pereda’s films are resolutely Mexican in focus and almost exclusively deal with stories drawn directly from the everyday lives and worlds of their working-class characters. Yet the careful, often enigmatic minimalism embraced by Pereda’s films – equally through their fractured and elliptical narratives as their preference for extended sequence shots – is best understood in the context of similarly ambitious filmmaking practices explored by influential artists such as Portugal’s Pedro Costa and Argentina’s Lisandro Alonso. Indeed, like Costa’s pioneering trilogy of films set in Lisbon’s Fontainhas district and featuring a cast of non-professional actors drawn from its inhabitants, Pereda’s work intertwines… read more
Pereda's first feature is a tightly scripted short work full of long takes and knowing silences. A young man is attempting to stop the sale of his grandmother's land from greedy relatives rekindling a relationship with a mother he barely knows who works as a maid in the city. For a film shot very much like a documentary it is surprisingly quite moving and has emotional depth.
Pereda's long duration emphasizes the vacancy behind apathy when it comes to resolving the exchange of family values for capitalist interest. Questions posed to family members that result in long pauses of avoidance are no different from public officials whom "redirect" Vicente towards specialists, the form of official 'avoidance.' Vicente's long walks depict the lapse of speedy answers to ignored class concerns.