The opening film of the festival, Los Lobos (Samuel Kishi, 2019), begins when a Mexican woman Lucía arrives in the United States illegally with her two sons, Leon and Max.
¿Ya vamos a Disney? – When do we go to Disneyland?, the brothers ask their mother once they have settled in one of the immigrant suburbs of the city.
They have managed to rent a small and uncleaned apartment from an elderly Chinese couple in this neighborhood. To pay the rent, Lucía uses her savings stored in a chips can.
Lucía and her children live the American dream from a point of view of immigrants. Once they start their dangerous journey from Mexico or Central America to the United States, many immigrants already know that there are no easy dollars. Yet, the reality is often even harsher than what they had expected.
Working around the clock, Lucía does all sorts of humdrum jobs, reserved for immigrants, while the boys wait for her in their apartment that they are not allowed to leave.
The boys spend their days looking out from their window and observing the life of a troubled suburb they live in. The Disneyland of their dreams is thousands of miles away.
Equally far away seems to be the family’s dignified life.
A Western spectator might ask, wouldn’t it be better for them at home? The answer is no.
In the United States, the life is not easy either, but there is hope and opportunities that do not exist at home. One of them is survival. That is why deported immigrants almost always seek back.
The film is based on director Samuel Kishi’s own experiences. It is an accurate description of the lives of paperless immigrants in today’s United States.
It is also a story of maternal love and unyieldingness.
Kishi tells the story not only of his own, but also of thousands of other immigrants.
It’s a struggle, but it also has a lot of hope.
Maija Salmi is a journalist and non-fiction writer, specialized in Spain and Latin America. Salmi’s debut work about the immigrants seeking to the United States, Paholaisen juna (The Devil’s Train), was nominated for the Kanava Nonfiction Prize in 2015. Today, Salmi works as a journalist for Yle in Spain.