Drama describes immigrants’ sacrifices
Reality hit home for 12-year-old actor Adrian Alonso when he was locked up in the cargo bay of a hot airless minivan. In the Sundance Spectrum film "La Misma Luna" Alonso plays Carlitos, a young boy who leaves Mexico to search for his mother who is working in America.
In the film, Carlitos pays a couple to illegally transport him across the border triggering a series of cross country adventures, some frightening, some heartwarming.
Along the way, Carlitos and the audience, experience a range of injustices and harsh conditions involving other illegals but at each juncture Carlitos’ optimism prevails and he moves closer to finding his mother.
In the meantime, Rosario, his mom, played by Kate del Castillo is working two jobs cleaning houses in order to send money home to her son. Though separated for nearly two years, the two talk by pay-phone every Sunday morning at 10 a.m.
Carlitos’ plan is to find his mother before their next phone call so that she won’t worry when he isn’t there.
Director Patricia Riggen chose the screenplay, written by Ligiah Villalobos, for its "possibility of great emotion" and she hopes the exposure at Sundance will help the film gain a wide theatrical release.
"I believe this film has a large audience in this country," she said adding that the mother’s struggle should especially appeal top the hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers in the United States who have left family members behind.
Riggen says the inequities caused by the current immigration laws are "a problem that must be solved by both countries. Mexico needs to help residents achieve a better quality of life and the U.S. needs to accept the reality that they need the workers."
The film includes some light-hearted moments including a small appearance by the popular Mexican band Los Tigres del Norte who Alonso especially enjoyed meeting.
"It is a very sweet movie," said Riggen right before the film’s Sundance premier on Sunday. Unlike other movies about immigrants, she added, "it is a positive film that portrays a message of hope."
Riggen, who admitted she is keenly aware of the large Hispanic labor force in Park City, also said, "I hope this movie shows the humanity that people hardly notice, the waiters, the house cleaners, the gardeners they all have families that they love.
"La Misma Luna" plays
Wednesday, January 24, at 6 p.m. at the Tower Theater, Salt Lake City
Friday, January 26, 8:30 p.m. at Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
Saturday, January 27, 6:30 p.m. at Peery’s Egyptian Theater, Ogden
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