By Kate Jenkins
The third International Film, held Tuesday, Oct. 12, featured a subject that resonated beyond borders. The movie, “Sin Nombre,” a Mexican film, addressed controversial issues of immigration and gang violence in Latin America. The film is directed by American born filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga.
The two featured speakers chosen for the “Sin Nombre” screening in the Library Auditorium were Susan Ryan, professor of communication studies, and Teresa San Pedro, professor of modern languages.
Before the film, San Pedro warned the audience of its graphic nature.
“It’s gonna be disturbing. You’re gonna suffer, like I suffered,” she said.
San Pedro couldn’t have been more right. “Sin Nombre” presented scenes of violence, causing certain members of the audience to gasp and cringe. One such scene featured a young boy undergoing the violent initiation into the Mara Salvatrucha street gang. He endured 13 seconds of severe beating from gang members, leaving him bruised, bloodied and barely conscious.
The film itself tells the story of two troubled Latin Americans. Willy, nicknamed “El Casper,” is a young member of a Mexican chapter of the Mara Salvatrucha. Sayra is a Honduran teenager attempting to immigrate into the U. S. with her father and uncle. The two meet when gang leader “Lil’ Mago” forces Willy to assist him in robbing migrants riding atop trains headed for Mexico. “Lil’ Mago” spots the beautiful Sayra on one such train and attempts to rape her, but Willy can no longer stomach his distaste for violence. He kills “Lil’ Mago” and remains on the train in an effort to escape his life as a gang member. Sayra, who is traveling to New Jersey to live with family, clings to her Texas-bound savior, who eventually takes her under his wing. The two band together in hopes of gaining passage to America.
After the screening, both Ryan and San Pedro made it clear that the issues presented in the film were affecting areas near us. As mentioned before, Sayra had her sights set on New Jersey, an increasingly common destination for illegal immigrants. The professors also noted that members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang are located in Trenton.
“The reality is very close to home … It’s really next door,” San Pedro said.
Julia Flagg, senior sociology and Spanish major, attended the festival and offered her opinion of “Sin Nombre.”
“I thought it was a really good view of immigration,” she said. “I thought it was more multidimensional.”