Sin Nombre

Release Date: March 20, 2009
Limited release

Movie of the Day for Monday, February 23, 2009
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Every January, Park City, Utah is home to the Sundance Film Festival, once an independent haven that few outside or inside Hollywood would visit, despite Sundance being the brainchild of movie star Robert Redford (get it? Because he’s the Sundance Kid! Oh, I kill myself...). Nowadays, the Sundance Film Festival is the place to be for major media outlets and distribution companies, covering the movies that will potentially be big awards contenders by the time the next festival begins. For example, a Sundance Award winner at last year’s festival, Frozen River, garnered two Academy Award nominations, for Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay.

Come next January, maybe Sin Nombre will be as lucky as Frozen River, having just won two awards at Sundance, including one for Cary Joji Fukunaga as Best Director. For Fukunaga, Sin Nombre is his feature film debut, as he’s a past Sundance Lab student. Even so, for a first film, his work is getting a hefty amount of attention, as Focus Features is distributing the film in the United States.

Sin Nombre is set in Central America, focusing on the struggles of potential immigrants to the United States before they can even step onto American soil and those who strive to keep things at a status quo. Gangs in Mexico and a Guatemalan family running to New Jersey comprise the two main threads of the story, also written by Fukunaga. The cast, including Paulina Gaitan, Edgar Flores, and Hector Jimenez, is relatively unknown, with only Jimenez having been seen in small roles in such films as Nacho Libre and Epic Movie. In fact, the only marquee names involved in Sin Nombre are Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, stars of such films as Y Tu Mama Tambien, Babel, and Milk. However, Bernal and Luna serve as two producers on the project and do not appear in the film.

With its awards, praise from some big-name American critics like Variety’s Todd McCarthy, and a relatively big distribution company in Focus Features, you’re likely to find Sin Nombre at your local arthouse theater. Immigration is still a hot-button issue (and, let’s be honest, is it ever not going to be?), and such small Central American stories as Maria Full of Grace have garnered much support in the States, so Fukunaga may have hit the sweet spot with his first major feature film. Who knows? Sin Nombre may be the first lighthearted immigration movie ever? I’m sure he knows we all need a good laugh about such weighty material, right? Right? I guess not. (Josh Spiegel/BOP)

Vital statistics for Sin Nombre
Main Cast Paulina Gaitan, Edgar Flores, Kristyan Ferrer
Supporting Cast Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Diana Garcia, Luis Fernando Pena, Hector Jimenez
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga
Screenwriter Cary Joji Fukunaga
Distributor Focus Features
Rating R
Screen Count 6
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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