The Golden Dream
Winner of multiple awards, The Golden Dream (original title, La Jaula de Oro) lingers about you like ahangover long after you’ve left the cinema. It tells the all too familiar story of a group of young people in search of a better life in the USA, the land of dreams, where opportunity is rife. Juan (Brandon López), Sara (Karen Martínez) and Samuel (Carlos Chajon) leave their home in Guatemala with an impressive cool-headedness, their estimation that what they search for is waiting for them in the USA proving enough to get them through the harrowing journey, to Mexico and beyond.
Diego Quemada-Díez received the Satyajit Ray Award for The Golden Dream due to its “humanity, compassion and artistry”, and deservedly so. The theme of communication and a sense of belonging progresses through the film, Juan ostracizing the newcomer, Chauk (Rodolfo Domínguez), who can’t speak Spanish and cannot communicate with them. At first Chauk is rejected then accepted and then loved, his perseverance mirroring that of thousands of immigrants in the USA. From the outset, the reality of their situation is brought home with handheld cameras jaggedly capturing their walk, their movements through garbage and the poverty-stricken area in which they live, the beautiful Guatemalan countryside their golden cage. Personal relationships are infused with an honesty that is refreshing, Quemada-Díez refraining from romanticising their obvious desperation with sickly sweet dialogue, instead relying on the camera and admirable performances to capture the sentiment.
The chase for the American flag hardens the characters, and even as young teenagers, they remain unperturbed in the face of grave tragedy, as they know that only the ruthless will make it to the other side. Their youth and their innocence play no part in the film: Quemada-Díez portrays the very real struggle for many with a blunt and matter-of-fact approach to a relevant issue germane to the increasingly globalised and brutal world we live in.
The Golden Dream is released in selected cinemas on 27th June 2014.
Watch the trailer for The Golden Dream here: