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Why the Hell is Sin Nombre Not Getting the Play It Should?

May 19, 2009

So I’m one of the first that’s skeptical about hype, especially when it comes to film, but Cary Fukunaga’s (Tisch Grad Film) “Sin Nombre” might possibly be the best film to have been released in 2009 (and I know it’s only May). For up-to-date hip-hop heads, I’d say it’s the cinematic equivalent of Drake’s “So Far So Gone” mixtape–yes, it’s that frigging good.

The film follows a young Central American emigrant Sayra (Paulina Gaitan) trying to cross the border into the U.S. via Mexico, only to be sidetracked by a wayward, disenchanted MS-13 gangmember, Willy (Edgar Flores) who helps her along the way.


Sound like a snore-fest? Not in the least. This movie’s got sex, gang violence, chase scenes, good old-fashioned vendettas and so on– not to mention a soundscape so raw and visceral you just might wet your pants (if you’re into that kind of thing).

But it’s more than that. There were many times while watching that I, myself, even with my vast reservoirs of manliness, was moved to tear up. Sin Nombre is a gangster film with a heart.

Why am I been touting this film so hard? ‘Cause man, Wolverine: Origins is amazingly wack and is playing in 3892 screens across the country; Sin Nombre is in 80 and only 1 in NYC: Sunshine. B.S. This film kicks way more ass–from the way that it was made to what’s happening on the screen. Aaaand it won the craft awards for Best Directing and Best Cinematography at 2009’s Sundance. What the eff does somebody have to do to get some play?

I’ve been following Fukunaga since way back in high school, when my filmmaking interests just started to bud and I saw him on IFC’s Film School, d.p.’ing for Grad filmmaker Alrick Brown’s 2nd year project, “The Adventures of Supernigger,” grinding, trying to shoot a guerrilla style establishing shot off the Staten Island Ferry in spite of the guards telling them no. Straight Gangster.

Then, he comes back like 4 years later after having done mad research, and does this, a film shot out of the country with local actors, real gang members and apparently (from the nyc q&a) did about a week’s worth of shooting on moving trains. Do y’all know how hard it is to get a 35mm camera rig on top of a effing moving train and keep it steady?
I don’t. Look at that shit. I might try one day, but for now, I’m just not that gangster.

Anyways, go check this movie out, if you can, especially people in NYC–support your local filmmaker. Save that $14 you would have spent on getting a drink at some crappy bar/lounge/club, smuggle in a turkey melt and go see Sin Nombre.

143 East Houston Street at the Landmark Sunshine in NYC.

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