Sin nombre


Sin nombre
Cary Fukunaga
2009, Canana Films, Creando Films, Primary Productions
96 minutes (Spanish with English subtitles)

LATAMROB rating: ***

THE HYPER-VIOLENT Mara Salvatrucha, a gang whose exaggerated brutality is foisted on a broad swathe of Central America from Honduras to the unsuspecting Latino diaspora of California, forms the backdrop to this uncompromising road-movie about young people attempting to get to the US. Riding on top of cargo trains in their pursuit of a blurred dream – and an escape – the teens act out the internecine struggles and rivalries of a gang’s life and loves. Cary Fukunaga’s debut Sin Nombre – Spanish for “nameless” – recreates a species of Romeo and Juliet as an emotive life or death struggle traversing the jungles of Guatemala and Mexico. It depicts a mobile, desensitised underclass shaping its identity through impromptu gang culture and constructed rites as it is sucked towards the dollars of the north. Epic, expansive, ambitious and cinematically powerful, it makes a bleak statement about Central America’s own journey towards anything like what we might regard as normality. The performances of Paulina Gaitán (Sayra), Kristyan Ferrer (Smiley) and Tenoch Huerta Mejía (Lil’ Mago) are jaw dropping. – EC

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