28 April 2009

ilegal en estyle

so the boo and i have been seeing really good movies lately. we've been going to the embarcadero instead of the metreon. that may be why ;)

both movies we saw, sugar and sin nombre, deal with the various methods that people choose in order to cross the border into the united states.

first up is sugar. here's the trailer.

this movie is about this one young man, nicknamed sugar, who gets recruited from the dominican republic to play in a minor league baseball team. he envisions going to "new your" to play for the yankees. he gets recruited to iowa. he lives with a baseball crazed elderly christian couple. the only person that speaks spanish and can kind of show him the ropes is a fellow player. this player ends up getting injured and then let go of the team. he is supposed to go back to the DR, but ends up going to new york and gives sugar his contact information.

all of a suddent sugar is alone in a world where he only knows how to order french toast at a diner, and he doesn't even like them. he knows the word for eggs, but not what kind of eggs he likes. his english is getting better, but that isn't saying much.

there's this one incredible scene where he and his team is out on the town after an away game. he walks away from whatever he was doing and through an arcade. the camera is behind him and the only thing that stays in focus is sugar's outline. the rest never ever comes into focus, and it's a beautiful, and disconcerting, metaphor of what sugar must be feeling living in america. it's a continuous shot and goes on for quite some time.

eventually the pressure of being a pitcher playing game after game catches up mentally with sugar and he makes a decision that he feels is best for him. he leaves the team and heads for new york. it is then we see how sugar really survives, rather than just being uncomfortable in a new setting. we see him with virtually nothing in nyc, but he knows the language, there are people there he can relate to, he can order food, dance to music, meet girls, everything that is like the DR, but in a big new city in the US. he even finds people to play ball with, like how he used to play, with no pressure. but these guys are all really really good, it's not just another neighborhood pickup game.

the boo told me he heard an interview with the filmmakers. apparently the people who made this movie saw these types of neighborhood games in the bronx. they are all former pro players from latin america who have stories ranging from retirement from the league, to getting injured out, to sugar's: just leaving for a chance of making a life in the U.S. they got inspired by all the ideas, and then made the movie.

sugar is one story i have heard about vaguely, as in caribbean ball players coming to america, but this story was a great magnifying glass to one facet of the the caribbean latin american experience. i lived in nyc for 8 yeras, and defintely felt the influence (since the result was missing my own home and missing what i used to eat for 18 years too, importing tortillas from texas for example) of their culture, but never really got the DR story. the PR/ nuyorican story is definitely different. as is the case for all of us. and in seeing the movie, i found myself fondly remembering the latin nyc experience.

which brings us to a story i'm definitely more familiar with. and that is the next movie, sin nombre. wow. brought to us by the lovely diego luna and gael garcia bernal. again. wow.

it is this generation's el norte. this time, MS13, aka the international gang, mala salvatrucha, has a large presence. shudders all around! scary. as if the whole experience wasn't scary enough. but man, this movie is GREAT. redemption, love, broken hearts, broken homes, homies, pissed off abuelitas, fatherless boys, trains, la migra, new jersey, texas, guatemala, honduras, chiapas, families, god, devils, and trust.

here's the trailer.

two families collide on a train after a dramatic event occurs which links them together forever. the first family was heading to meet the father's second familiy in america. the other was a family of one, after a price was put on his head.

as i'm, quite thankfully, not involved with any part of the gang life, i have no idea if the scenes with the gang are true to life or a cheesy depiction tailor-made for art house audiences. i remember thinking the leader's teeth seemed tooooo white and tooooo straight to depict what is really the ugly struggle of poverty, but eh, whatever. the rest of his face, covered in ink, was enough for me.

i don't even know what to say about this movie. i feel quite speechless actually. i just know i want to see it again. and possibly again. and i want other people to see it.

now i'll leave you with the inspiration for the blog post title...courtesy of the awesomness that is pilar diaz.

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