Mel Gibson is back in a prison

Apocalypto

No, Mel Gibson has not been arrested. At least not up to the point that I have written that sentence. Regardless of that fact, the famed and extremely talented man that does it all is headed to a prison. Which prison? He is going to an old and foreign prison, tucked away in a familiar place for him; the still-in-use Ignacio Allende Prison in Veracruz, Mexico. I say the place is familiar because some of the shooting on Gibson's last directorial effort, APOCALYPTO, was done there.

So, how did we find out about this project in the first place? Mel Gibson is one of the best in/out of Hollywood at keeping his projects completely under wraps. I mean, it was almost impossible for reporters to learn anything about APOCALYPTO, and even after they learned bits, nothing that solid was revealed until the trailer popped up. Well, this time we have been fortunate enough that an insider has spoken up. The Governor of Veracruz, Fidel Herrera, is currently exclaiming to all that will hear that a “grand production” is going to soon take place at the Ignacio Allende Prison, and Mel Gibson and company are the folks behind it all.

So, we know that Gibson is shooting a film at a historical prison in Veracruz, Mexico, but what could the film be about? Unfortunately, the governor isn't spilling the beans on that information, as of yet. But, with a little detective work, and the help of the handy dandy internet, maybe we can find a lead. Maybe. Continue reading

REVIEW: Sin Nombre

Rating 9/10

For his first feature film, Director Cary Fukunaga (watch our interview with him here) presents a film that looks deep into the heart of what it is to survive in modern day, violence filled, poverty stricken Mexico. Set against a backdrop of rival gang wars, SIN NOMBRE follows Willy (Edgar Flores) and Sayra (Paulina Gaitan) as they make their way across Mexico atop a train car in hopes of a better life. But everyone has their baggage. Willy, or “El Casper” as he is known to his fellow gang members, is a marked man after he murders the gang’s leader. Every moment could be his last as he is hunted by his former brothers. Sayra, along with her father and uncle, are on a journey to New Jersey to escape the life Mexico has offered them. The journey is uncertain to the three but necessary. As these characters cross paths, they bond on a common goal…survival. In the end, SIN NOMBRE shows to be a film about many things. Survival. Friendship. Family. Loss. Sacrifice. Above all, hope.

A critique of the film could be as much about the process of filming and Fukunaga’s history as it could be about the film itself. After riding in boxcars across Mexico and living amongst poverty and gang land murder, Fukunaga set out to make SIN NOMBRE after he made a similar thesis film for the graduate program at NYU. The outcome is a powerful and emotional film by a director that was truly able to tap into what it is like to live the life exposed in SIN NOMBRE. A film that makes the audience, often trapped in a boxed in, American viewpoint of other cultures, think about what it is to truly struggle to survive.

The film itself is a beautiful portrait of Mexican landscape and the people that live amongst it. It is no surprise that the film won the Cinematography Award at this past year’s Sundance Film Festival. At times, SIN NOMBRE plays like a very dramatic road trip movie, as the audience sees only what the characters see from atop the train. The characters are played by either new comers or people who are not actors at all, but real people living in real conditions. From that, the audience is given a sense that the people on screen ARE real and the things they endure are just as real.

In the end, SIN NOMBRE is simple in its story. It’s a film about two people trying to get from point A to point B. It is the things they see, the people they encounter and the situations they experience that are complex, emotion filled and thought provoking. If you want a happy story with a happy ending that makes you feel good about the comfortable life you live, then SIN NOMBRE may not be a film for you. If you want to truly feel as if you’ve walked, or journeyed, in someone else’s shoes and seen another side of life for an hour and thirty-six minutes then I would urge you to see this film.