A slow-burn, multilayered drama that spotlights the brutal world of labour in Mexico’s industrial borderlands from the perspective of a young boy searching for his father.
Teenage Hatzín travels from Mexico City to the northern state of Chihuahua on a grim mission: to collect a metal box containing his father’s remains, recently exhumed from a mass grave. As he heads home, Hatzín glimpses a man who looks strikingly like his father’s ID photo, and impulsively decides to follow him. While the man, Mario, insists he isn’t Hatzín’s dad, the boy stubbornly refuses to leave; instead, he begins to help Mario recruit workers for local factories. But Hatzín’s yearning for a role model is inextricable from the blatant criminality he witnesses.
Lorenzo Vigas emerged as a provocative talent with his debut feature, Desde Allá (MIFF 2016), which won the Golden Lion at Venice. Here, he remains interested in fraught masculine connections and destructive father figures, while immersive camerawork by Pablo Larraín regular Sergio Armstrong recalls the sharp naturalism of the Dardenne brothers – particularly The Promise (MIFF 1996). The Box is a subtly structured film that keeps its two central characters’ motives ambiguous to the very end, while excoriating how disposably this corrupt system treats human lives.
“A short, sharp, gut-punching psychological thriller … [with] terse, cut-to-the-quick refinement [and] loaded, exquisitely composed images.” – Variety
ProducerJorge Hernández Aldanda
CinematographerSergio Armstrong G.
EditorIsabela Monteiro de Castro
Spanish, with English subtitles
Mexico, United States