A young orphan from Mexico City gone to collect the remains of his long-lost father from a recently discovered mass grave somewhere in Mexico stumbles upon a man in the town who bears a striking resemblance to the photo on his father’s ID card – though the burly man denies he is his father. Thus begins a coming-of-age story that takes us through the mechanics and politics of exploitative labour – the man is a recruiter of cheap labour for neighbouring factories – and the mystery of mass graves frequently found in countries like Mexico and Colombia that point to a larger conspiracy involving a mix of deep-rooted corruption, extreme poverty, drug trafficking and the nefarious role of private militias and government troops. Despite its potent content, the film adopts a minimalist style in its treatment; the larger causes simmer below the surface, almost like a slow burn, while the surface plot concentrates on the effects that are dramatized through the father-son relationship as it goes through its subtle phases of transition.
THE BOX (La Caja) (2021, Venezuela-Mexico), set in Mexico is directed by well-known Venezuelan director Lorenzo Vigas. This tour-de-force of a film can be seen on MUBI.
Ranjan Das is aMumbai based filmmaker & faculty.