A mother travels across Mexico in search for her son whom authorities say died while trying to cross the borders into the United States.


Fernanda Valadez
15 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Mercedes Hernández Mercedes Hernández ... Magdalena
David Illescas David Illescas ... Miguel
Juan Jesús Varela Juan Jesús Varela ... Jesús
Ana Laura Rodríguez Ana Laura Rodríguez ... Olivia
Armando García Armando García ... Rigo
Laura Elena Ibarra Laura Elena Ibarra ... Chuya
Juan Pablo Acevedo Juan Pablo Acevedo ... Agente Ministerio Público
Xicoténcatl Ulloa Xicoténcatl Ulloa ... Pedro
Jessica Martínez García Jessica Martínez García ... Enfermera
María Luisa Juárez María Luisa Juárez ... Químico Forense
Ricardo Luna Ricardo Luna ... Agente estatal
Julieta Rodríguez Julieta Rodríguez ... Técnico Forense
Iker Valadez Urtaza Iker Valadez Urtaza ... Diego, de niño
Susan Korda Susan Korda ... Agente ICE
Jorge Escalante Jorge Escalante ... Vendedor Central Autobuses


Months after Jesús (Juan Jesús Varela) set out on foot for the U.S. with a friend from their rural town in Guanajuato, Magdalena (Mercedes Hernandez) has lost contact with her beloved adolescent son. Determined to unravel his fate, Magdalena soon finds herself in over her head, entangled in an expansive crime syndicate and labyrinth of disorienting lies on an increasingly surreal journey to uncover the truth. At the mercy of those with the power and courage to help her find closure, Magdalena's path fortuitously converges with that of Miguel (David Illescas), a young man not unlike her son Jesús, returning from U.S. deportation. Ensconced within the realm of magical-realism while exhibiting remarkable restraint, IDENTIFYING FEATURES is an impressive, symbolic re-imagining of a culture adrift and seeking spiritual reunification. Winner of the World Cinema Dramatic Audience and Screenplay Awards at the Sundance Film Festival. Written by Mae Moreno

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User Reviews

Good directorial debut
10 May 2021 | by panta-4See all my reviews

Great debut for the director Fernanda Valadez - it was definitely uniquely told story, that feels as real as it gets. The cinematography is bleak and heavy but no complaints about the quality of it, except some filler shots of sky and grass... her choice of close-ups, angles, blurs, got us close to the real viewpoint of the mother searching for her son and felt quite authentic.

Sadly, you could notice the short film material dragged out to 96 minutes, and it felt so much longer with its snail paced scenes... I understand that added to the dramatics but if was painful!

So, I would recommend it for one off watching, and prepare yourself - it will seem long!

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Mexico | Spain

Release Date:

15 January 2021 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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