a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Sin Nombre

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Gregory Nava’s 1983 film, El Norte, chronicled the story of Guatemalan refugees traveling across Mexico for a fabled better life in the North – the USA. Sin Nombre, the audacious debut film by Cary Fukunaga follows its footsteps, but 25 years later, the journey has become more hellish. Sin Nombre opens into a brutal world of low level gangster life. A tribalism of primal macho power, drugs and outlandishly tattooed faces are seared onto the screen with frightening realism bordering on the surreal . In this world we’re introduced to Willy/Casper (Edgar Flores) a rising star in this underground world, who has a well-justified change of heart toward his criminal life when he meets Sayra  (Paulina Gaitan) a young Guatemalan woman heading to el Norte.  The story is classic – lovers on the run – but Fukunaga’s sure hand brings a sensitive and detailed look at the plights of Latin America to an operatic story full of heightened emotions and Dantesque parables. It’s a harrowing and moving ride across a side of Mexico rarely seen on film.

Originally published in EL Magazine, June 2010


Written by Nicholas Vroman

June 1, 2010 at 3:12 am

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