Northless

Filmmaker Rigoberto Perezcano glories in the poetry of the mundane with the story of Andrés, a young man from Oaxaca who perseveres in his efforts to sneak across the border into the U.S., resulting in a beguiling art film about a depressingly routine subject. After hitchhiking across the white desert, taciturn and blinded by sun, only to be caught by the border patrol and sent back, Andrés (played by Harold Torres from Rudo y Cursi, SFIFF 2009) takes a breather and hangs out in Tijuana, contemplating his next move. He brings little but a strong back and an agreeable nature. The unpaid job as a slaughterhouse mopper-upper doesn't work out, but the gofer gig at a convenience store (paid in U.S. dollars) offers a dividend in his budding relationships with an attractive young woman, the tougher and more experienced Doña Ela, and old Don Asensio, who claims to know the best spots to cross over. And why not? Their mini-mart stands in the shadow of the hideous border wall. Sometimes it is only by telling a well-known story once again that we can see it as something completely new, as if in the retelling a new meaning opens up like the reluctant petals of a flower. So it is with Perezcano's deceptively quiet Northless. And we can never forget one character's warning to the ever-hopeful Andrés: “The minute you cross the line, you go to hell.”

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