Who Is Dayani Cristal?
No matter where you are in the world, mentioning immigration will evoke every feasible opinion there is to have. A topic that is studied in schools, and an issue scrutinised by the world over, it is no wonder that this epidemic has touched the minds and hearts of filmmakers. This time, in the form of Who Is Dayani Cristal?, director Marc Silver and producer Gael García Bernal together have delved into the hubbub surrounding the Mexican American border, and the roles it plays in society on both Hispanic and American lives.
A deeply emotive and touching story primarily, and a documentary second, Who Is Dayani Cristal? follows Bernal as he retraces the final journey of our John Doe, found with little more identification than “Dayani Cristal” emblasoned across his chest. We, as the audience, uncover the mystery of this nameless man from both his family and friends, and the employees working with Border Patrol. These people, who are dedicated to giving the thousands of unidentified bodies found north of the border back to their families, shed refreshing light with both personal experience and opinion, bringing a welcome positivity to a seemingly depressing subject.
This outstanding piece of cinema brigs into question many personal morals of family and friendship, and what one is willing to do to improve their standard of life. Many people living in places like the UK or USA, who come into contact with asylum seekers and immigrants on a near daily basis, unknowingly take for granted how much life is valued in these more developed parts of the world. As Bernal travels up through South America, he learns the previously unheard – maybe even purposefully ignored – truths of how perilous immigration is. It’s a submerged, under the table culture that many turn a blind eye to, and something this film hikes up from the dirt and meticulously examines, inoffensively and respectfully.
Giving us an unbiased look at something so wrought with extreme and often fierce admission, Who Is Dayani Cristal? is a look into a world that influences our lives, and forces us to re-examine our opinions of both ourselves, and those around us.
Who Is Dayani Cristal? is released nationwide on 25th July 2014. For further information visit the film’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Who Is Dayani Cristal? here: