Title: La jaula de oro (The Golden Cage)
Director: Diego Quemada-Diez
Starring: Brandon Lopez, Rodolfo Domínguez, Karen Martínez, Carlos Chajón.
This movie is not a documentary, but the fiction was inspired by the real state of things. A contemporary and tragic odyssey of immigrants escaping from their native land. As audiences empathise with these characters and detach from bourgeoise every day lives they realise how lucky they are, despite the difficulties caused by the current crisis.
Juan, Sara and Samuel are three adolescents from Guatemala, who try to reach the United States in pursuit of a better life. Along the way they meet Chauk, a native from Chipas who doesn’t speak Spanish and wanders without documents. Their long journey will lead these young people to face a hard reality.
Director Diego Quemada-Diez started out as Ken Loach’s assistant, whence he acquired a poignant sensitivity to social issues. In his ‘La jaula de oro’ he decided to cast non professional actors and allow them to improvise; whereas cinematography used essentially natural light. This humanistic approach rewarded Quemada-Diez him in several festivals: Un Certain Regard award in Cannes, Gillo Pontecorvo award in Venice, Golden Griffon for Best Film in the section generator +16 at Giffoni Film Festival, as well as Aluminium Griffon for the environmental award and the Crystal Griffon from the Bank of the Italian region Campania.
Spoiler alert: Truth be told the resigned unhappy ending is poetic. The American dream isn’t pursued because the crude and merciless reality that haunts these kids is stronger. This choice dispels the myth that happiness awaits in a faraway land, and the journey becomes the tool for a greater reflection on what separates nations and human beings.
The “spread the love” message is all very nice, a little populist and demagogic in conveying spectators’ benevolence. The New Seekers’ song, that had been used for the Coca Cola commercial in 1971, would have been the perfect soundtrack for ‘The Golden Cage.’ It said it all: “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, I want to hold it in my arms and keep it company. I’d like to see the world for once all standing hand in hand and hear them eco through the hills for peace throughout the land.”
Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi