Juan, Sara, and Samuel, all 15 years old, come to the decision that the only way they can live a better life is to flee from Guatemala and head to America. Leaving with very little in terms of resources, the trio of friends set off on their journey. Along the way they meet Chauk, a Tzotzil Indian, who speaks no Spanish at all. With youthful optimism, they all believe a better world awaits across the Mexican border but they soon discover the harsh reality of the world around them. The Golden Dream is a honest portrait of the plight of so many immigrants that is heartbreaking and poetically envisioned. Quemada-Diez's story is simple but incredibly invigorating, delivering a film similar his protege Ken Loach. While there have been a lot of films made about USA-Mexico immigration, I'm not sure any film is done is such a poetically subtle way. The Golden Dream spends a lot of time showing the tremendous amount of obstacles standing in the way of these children on their journey but the hope and optimism that it captures along the way is what truly stands out. Don't get me wrong, this is a deeply tragic story but it does offer a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel while simultaneously capturing the dangerous path to get there. The narrative is straight forward but gripping, shedding characters as they go through this harsh environment, reminding the viewer that none of these characters are bigger than this vicious cycle. This is a harsh, bleak film but it also never manipulates the viewer or creates drama when it isn't naturally there. Diego Quemada-Diez's The Golden Dream is a poetic tale of teenage Guatemalan migrants that stands its ground as one of the best films on the subject matter I've seen.
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