Jul 31, 2014 Comments Off on Who is Dayani Cristal?
By Vincent Nadeau
Who is Dayani Cristal?
A documentary produced by Gael García Bernal and directed by Marc Silver.
Marc Silver’s documentary follows Arizona’s state officials in their quest to identify a dead man found in the desert, whose only potential chance for identification are the words ‘Dayani Cristal’ tattooed on his chest. The story of Dayani Cristal itself acts as a microcosm for the many migrants who suffer from walls and barriers. Indeed the conceptual thinking of the film fights the delusional assumption that we’re all interconnected.
Silver’s documentary is told in three interlinking strands which integrate Gael García Bernal’s recreation of a Honduran migrant’s journey up north, testimonies of the victim’s family and the efforts of the Arizonian state officials’ battle to solve the tragedy. The film tragically captures the layers of the land and of the journey portrayed, filled with dangerous borders, dusty roads and the infamous and unpredictable trans-Mexican train called La Bestia. This touching piece of work shows how the motivation of most migrants answers the universal question of what would you be prepared to do for your family?
Although the border area with the Arizona desert has been designed by the United States authorities as a ‘corridor of death’ in order to serve as a deterrent to migrants, many still risk their lives through the perilous desert as highlighted by the documentary. Silver’s picture strongly underlines the ineffectiveness of the policy.
Although there is something rather artificial about García Bernal’s recreation of a migrant’s journey, his immensely likeable presence still manages to enthral the audience. Moreover, the multifaceted approach of the film extraordinarily tackles the economic realities of immigration through the initial exhibition of a corpse.