Entertainment

A Desperate Mother Makes A Heartbreaking Decision In ‘Paper Boats’ To Spare Her Children From Immigration Policy Realities

While the country is rightly outraged at the current administration’s family separation policies that place children in concentration camps, “Paper Boats” offers the alternative storyline. Directed by Yago Muñoz, “Paper Boats” is a story about three young siblings who grew up in New York City, forced to move to México with their grumpy abuelo to avoid being placed in the foster system as their mother, Alma, faces deportation. Carolina, José, and Tomás, learn to navigate going from the city jungle of New York to the middle of nowhere desert in México with their abuelo who doesn’t understand English.

The first scenes of the trailer are as idyllic as it gets.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

The cityscape of New York at night lingers as we hear a young girl’s whisper, “Let’s go wake up mommy.” Three children, one in a princess costume, rush to wake up their young mother, Alba, by trampling all over her in bed. Laughter. She chases after them as they run to the park for ice cream. Then, we hear Alba’s voice, “Will I get deported?”

The first scenes feel familial–a Latino family comfortable in their New York City lives.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

“Paper Boats” seems to scream the possibility of familial feeling in highly contrasted situations. Alba stands staring at a subway as it zooms past her, as industrious as New York is known to be. We hear Alba bargain with her lawyer, “But I didn’t do anything wrong.” He tells her, “Alba, you crossed the border illegally ten years ago. It’s time to think of your children.” She needs to find a guardian that she trusts to care for the children, because the government can legally take away her children, American citizens, given that she committed the crime of crossing the border.

In seeming total contrast with Alba and the New York subway system is Alba’s father, Jorge, staring out over the vast Mexican desert.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

Jorge and Alba’s relationship is strained over border policies. She crossed to give her kids a better life, but it meant that she couldn’t return to México for her own mother’s funeral. Jorge still doesn’t understand why she left, and why she didn’t come back. Jorge’s grown comfortable with his isolated ranchero lifestyle, fishing by trade, and enjoying the solitude of the desert by night. 

Suddenly, Jorge must care for his three grandchildren, whom he’s never met, and he’s grisly about it.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

He doesn’t seem to take the responsibilities too seriously and even arrives at the airport late. These darkened silhouettes of strangers meeting for the first time invariably illuminates as the familial bonds are formed. It takes a while though.

“No te entiendo!” he shouts at los niños their first night with him. 

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

The kids try to explain that they don’t eat fish and that the youngest has dietary restrictions. The three jóvenes and their abuelo end up staring blankly at each other–one side not understanding why they won’t eat, and the other not understanding why they aren’t being fed.

At first, the viewer is concerned that Jorge just tosses three young kids in the back of a pickup truck, but then it becomes delightful.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

We watch the children’s lives with a protective mother in the streets of New York transform into campo kids, wearing cowboy hats and even peeing out the back of a pickup truck. Imagine any of our mothers letting us do that. No puedo.

A new understanding of family is born, and we enjoy it fleetingly.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

As the novelty of the desert and their upended lives weans, the children miss their mother. The adult audience understands that the immigration system is complicated, winding, and unjust, but “Paper Boats” is telling the story through the lens of a child. There’s no anger at the system, or even the sound of Trump narrating in the background, “When Mexico sends their people, they’re not you, or you.” There’s just grief.

The brave children pack their bags and wander into the desert, following the railroad to find their mother.

Credit: Desierto Films / Vimeo

The trailer trails off as we see Jorge go after the children the next morning. But, like paper boats, the journey home is often undertaken by the current of the journey itself.

READ: A Border Vigilante Hunts Down Immigrants In The Intense Trailer For ‘Desierto’

Diego Luna Talks The Importance Of The Storytelling In ‘Narcos: Mexico’ And Why Mexico City Will Always Be His Home

Entertainment

Diego Luna Talks The Importance Of The Storytelling In ‘Narcos: Mexico’ And Why Mexico City Will Always Be His Home

Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix’s “Narcos: Mexico” Season 2 comes back to continue the story of enigmatic drug lord Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo and the subsequent rise and fall of the Guadalajara cartel he founded in the 1970s, with Diego Luna reprising his role as the mysterious Félix Gallardo.

The show depicts how Félix Gallardo’s eloquence and strategic thinking helped him attain a swift rise to the apex of the Mexican drug cartels. 

For a man of which not much is widely known about, Luna reveals in this exclusive interview with mitú how he was able to dive into his character.

When preparing for this role, Luna said there wasn’t as much research material about El Padrino (Félix Gallardo’s alias) compared to the personal stories of other real-life personalities, such as El Chapo. 

“The good thing for me in playing this role is this man was a very discreet person, he understood the power of discretion,” Luna says.

It was important to see what people said about him—what people say or feel when they were around this character, this perception of him helps a lot. I had to do research and see what was a common answer—people talk about how intelligent and precise and strategic he was, and that’s how I wanted to portray and build this character,” Luna told mitú over the phone. 

Season 2 picks up after the murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena, with Félix Gallardo enjoying political protection at his palatial home in Mexico.

It’s evident in the beginning scenes of this second season that his rags-to-riches story is starting to unravel and a bit of paranoia is starting to set in that he may have a knife (or gun) at his back at any moment. 

A running allegory used by the characters’ dialogues of the Roman Empire’s eventual collapse and Julius Caesar’s ultimate end foreshadows what we all know will happen to Félix Gallardo—his drug empire will eventually collapse in a smoke of cocaine dust. 

From crooked Mexican politicians and cops to ranch hands trying to make extra money delivering cocaine across the border, the show demonstrates the complicity among the cartels and how far the cartels’ reach.

“Narcos: Mexico” attempts to show that good and evil isn’t always black and white. The story highlights the gray area where even those committing corrupt acts are victims, Luna explained. 

“Some of the characters that take action are victims of the whole system,” Luna said in Spanish. 

The side of Mexico shown in “Narcos: Mexico” has been criticized by some as a side of Mexico stereotypically seen in the media.

However, Luna sees it as a side of the country that is real and must be discussed in order to move forward.

“When this season ends, I was 10 to 11 years old [at the time.] That decade was actually ending. It’s interesting to revisit that decade as an adult and research that Mexico my father was trying to hide from me [as a child],” Luna explained.

Luna says that this type of storytelling is important to understanding the fuller picture of Mexico.

The need for this type of storytelling—the stories that put a mirror up to a country to see the darkest side of itself—is vital, regardless of how complex it is to write scripts about all the facets of a country marred by political and judicial corruption. 

“In this case the story is very complex, it’s talking about a corrupt system that allows these stories to happen. We don’t tell stories like that—we simply everything. With this, I had a chance to understand that complexity. The journey of this character is a presentable journey. Power has a downside, and he gets there and he thinks he’s indispensable and clearly he is not,” Luna said. 

Outside of his role on “Narcos,” Luna is a vocal activist and is constantly working to put Mexico’s art and talent on an international stage through his work, vigilantly reminding his audience that Mexico has culture waiting to be explored past the resort walls of Cancún and Cabo. 

“The beauty of Mexico is that there are many Mexicos—it’s a very diverse country. You have the Pacific Coast that is beautiful and vibrant and really cool. By far my favorite beach spots in Mexico are in Oaxaca, and all the region of Baja California. You also have the desert and jungle and Veracruz and you have all the Caribbean coast and the city is to me a place I can’t really escape. Home is Mexico City, and it will always be where most of my love stories are and where I belong,” Luna said in a sort of love note aside to his home country. 

As much as Luna can talk endlessly about his favorite tacos in Mexico City (Tacos El Güero for any inquiring minds) and the gastronomic wonders of its pocket neighborhoods such as la Condesa, he also wants the dialogue around Mexico’s violence to be shown under a spotlight, as searing as it may be. 

“We can’t avoid talking about violence because if we stop, we normalize something that has to change,” Luna said. 

Perhaps “Narcos: Mexico” can bring some introspection and change after all. Let’s hope the politicians are watching.

READ: ‘Narcos: Mexico’ Season 2 Picks Up Where We Left Off With Félix Gallardo And The Guadalajara Cartel

Mexican Newspaper Slammed After Publishing Graphic Photos Of Woman’s Tragic Death

Things That Matter

Mexican Newspaper Slammed After Publishing Graphic Photos Of Woman’s Tragic Death

SkyNews/ Twitter

In Mexico, the recent brutal mutilation and slaying of a 25-year-old woman are spurning conversations about the country’s efforts to prevent femicide and laws that protect victims from the media.

On Sunday, Mexican authorities revealed that they had discovered the body of Ingrid Escamilla.

According to reports, Escamilla was found lifeless with her body skinned and many of her organs missing. At the scene, a 46-year-old man was also discovered alive. His body was covered in bloodstains and he was arrested.

As of this story wasn’t troubling enough, local tabloids and websites managed to bring more tragedy to the victim and her family by splashing leaked graphic photos and videos of the victim’s body. In a terribly crafted headline, one paper by the name of Pasala printed the photos on its front page with the headline “It was Cupid’s fault.” The headline is a reference to the fact that the man found at the scene was Escamilla’s husband.

According to leaked video footage from the arrest scene, Escamilla’s husband admitted to stabbing his wife after a heated argument in which she threatened to kill him. He then claimed to have skinned her body to eliminate evidence.

Mexic City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, revealed that prosecutors will demand the maximum sentence against the alleged perpetrator.

“Femicide is an absolutely condemnable crime. It is appalling when hatred reaches extremes like in the case of Ingrid Escamilla,” Sheinbaum wrote in a tweet according to CNN. According to reports, Mexico broke records in 2018 when its homicide record reached over 33,000 people that year.

The publication of Escamilla’s mutilated body has sparked discussions regarding the way in which reports about violence against women are handled.

Women’s rights organizations have lambasted the papers that originally published photos of Escamilla’s body and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also expressed criticism of the media’s response to the brutal slaying.

In a press conference on Thursday, President López Obrador expressed his determination to find and punish anyone responsible for the image leaks. “This is a crime, that needs to be punished, whoever it is,” he stated.