An 18-year old kid leaves his village in Mexico looking for his kidnapped sister. His journey takes him to Los Angeles, where we see the city through the eyes of this penniless illegal immigrant on a desperate quest.
'Emilio' is the soulful tale of a young man (19 years) who leaves his village in Mexico looking for his kidnapped sister. His journey leads him to Los Angeles, where we see the city through the eyes of a penniless illegal immigrant on a desperate quest. The City of Angels itself becomes in a sense the second character of this movie as Emilio's needle-in-a-haystack search takes him through the gritty contrasts of Skid Row, East L.A., Echo Park, Watts, Torrance, Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, and the West Hollywood hills. The panorama of characters he encounters include Mexican day laborers, drug dealers, transients, skateboarders, disco queens, actors, and upwardly mobile socialites constituting at once a searing social criticism and celebration of a city. As it moves towards its inexorable conclusion, this coming of age story comes into its own above all as an heroic portrait of determination. Written by
A Marvelous, Haunting, Riveting, Heartbreaking Film
I saw this beautifully crafted film at the San Diego Latino Film Fest and was completely entranced. Of all the recent immigration films this one is the most intelligent and emotionally involving. Don't let the tabloidish kidnapping theme throw you off -- this is more a sensitive coming of age story than some politically correct message film about Latino immigrants. A surprisingly sophisticated story that made me think for days. The cinematography seems like a recent European film like Rosetta or L'enfent, the new faces give invariably amazing performances. Additionally the film has a very classical, "Searchers"-like quality. About a kid from Mexico who comes to Los Angeles to find his 14-year-old sister whom he suspects has been kidnapped by nefarious people, the story is also a kind of "Odyssey" or "Inferno" depicting the many sides of the City of Angels - but mainly sides we seldom see, starting with his Skid Row arrival on a Greyhound bus. He soon enlists all kinds of oddball people in his search, from highest to lowest in society, and his determination and single-minded focus is unbelievable. The actor who plays Emilio gives what seems to me a breakout performance - but this is an "actor's" film with a lot of great performances. Ultimately his search becomes heartbreaking, but I won't spoil the ending. Only to say that everyone should go see this the moment it comes out in theaters. A surprising, stirring, really great find of a first film.
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