Dir: Gerardo Tort
Starring: Luis Fernando Pena, Maya Zapata, Armando Hernandez, Mario Zaragosa

Rufino (Pena) is a 15-year old boy who runs money for the drug dealers. When he gets blamed for some of it vanishing, he plans to leave with his girl (Zapata), who is about the only decent person in his world. But can he get his affairs in order and escape before the corrupt cops track him down? Ironically, this was presented by the Mexican Consulate. I say that because no-one seeing the film will ever want to visit the country again. It depicts Mexico City as a human sewer, where everyone is corrupt, a drug user/dealer or straight-out insane - sometimes more than one of the above. What next: Trainspotting, brought to you by the Scottish Tourist Board? This also makes it kinda hard to sympathise with liberal claims of Mexicans being stereotyped by the media, when their own film-makers portray their countrymen in such a bad light.

Fortunately, it's able to overcome such qualms. It is a bit of a stretch to accept that he suddenly chooses to find his long-lost father while his life is in peril, but the quest does add a whole new direction - albeit one of even more sleaze and trauma (it's the first time I've seen a movie's heroine and hero get raped concurrently). There isn't much light in the darkness, and the ending is so abrupt as to make you think the film ran out. However, all the performances are so convincing as to make you wonder if this is really a documentary. In depicting a slice of life for the sub-underclass in Mexico City, it is entirely plausible as far as grim authenticity goes. I certainly won't be going there to check.



...and doom
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