The Golden Dream Screen 6 articles

The Golden Dream

2013

The Golden Dream Poster
  • Rather than being a plot or character-driven story, this is a mood piece that doesn’t quite achieve greatness. It is assembled from a mash-up of 600 real-life attempted immigration stories, and as corrupt officials, violent bandits and personal losses start to erode the dreams that caused our young heroes to initially sally forth, the impact of their tragedies feel unsatisfyingly muted.

  • A relentless tale of three Guatemalan immigrants trekking through Mexico by train to cross the border into the United States, the film is wonderfully cyclical in the early going... While the film revels in this structure for far too long, it does exhibit a keen awareness for the key events that suddenly strip away all sense of safety for people on the run.

  • The fitful stops and starts and repetitions of their travels, and the long stretches of nothing before an explosive inversion of fortune, might pose a challenge to patience. But it's precisely in that rhythm, far more than the specific details of any single scenario, that we might experience even a fraction of what it's like to be on this journey with an uncertain destination.

  • Working with so little dialogue, the young actors are that much more impressive, and by avoiding any overt editorializing, Quemada-Diez creates a haunting and effective vision of illegal immigration in all its gruesomeness.

  • The film is taut, the drama packed neatly and efficiently into the lengthy, perilous odyssey. A former assistant to Ken Loach, he has appropriated the director’s signature style in mostly British films about the impact of social and historical events on the individual. Loach’s acolyte writes, “Behind migration there is colonization…one person or a group that occupies the land of another to exploit it and to exploit others.”

  • Don’t expect incendiary topicality from The Golden Dream; this is more poetry than politics... Visually, the film is ravishing. Director Diego Quemada-Diez, who has previously worked as a camera operator for folks like Spike Lee and Alejandro González Iñárritu, has an understated sensibility that mixes the naturalistic and the unreal. He keeps his camera at ground level, with the horizon usually in frame. That gives even the most mundane scenes a romantic aura.