Saturday, 22 August 2009

sin nombre (w&d cary fukunaga)

Sin Nombre brought to mind the semiotic functionality of film. There may be a dozen different functions film fulfils, but watching Sin Nombre, two were apparent. The first, most commonly cited, is the telling of a story. Film is a narrative art, bringing with it preconceptions of what to expect, which the filmmaker chooses to adhere to or resist. A second, it seems to me, is that film acts as a kind of window on the world. When we look at a cinema screen, it is curiously similar to looking out through a window, a pastime which holds a strange, unquantifiable pleasure; one which can be enhanced according to the perceived quality of the view on the outside.

With this latter functionality in mind, I took a lot from Sin Nombre. It offers the viewer an insight into what it's like to make one of the most dramatic journeys that exists in the modern world, the immigrant's passage from Central America to the United States, from third world to first. People make this journey on a daily basis, and it's fraught with danger. Sin Nombre constructs itself around a family's journey from Honduras across Mexico to the border. This strand is crossed with a second storyline, concerning a South Mexican gang and its brutal dynamics.

Having pinpointed a world which is well captured, the director's narrative feels a little tame in comparison. There are no real surprises, and the characters' journeys feel tinged by inevitability. You kind of longed for some kind of magic, a moment when the narrative soared in the same way the camera is allowed to over the train which carries its 21st pilgrims towards the promised land.

As it is, the narrative almost seems to get in the way of the true pathos of its characters' journey. As though the world it explores is not enough, requiring an extra garnish of emotion and drama to sustain an audience's attention. However, whilst this may by my opinion, perhaps if it hadn't adopted a slightly melodramatic narrative, it wouldn't have made its way around the world, and I would never have been permitted an insight into the world it depicts.

1 comment:

Vivian said...

It is a fantastic movie!!!