Diego Quemada-Diez’s astounding and gripping debut feature is a piercing and poetic road movie that follows the fortunes of four Guatemalan teenagers on a dangerous journey across the Mexican border into America. Using improvisational techniques and non-professional actors, The Golden Dream has astounded and won critical praise world over, garnering numerous awards including a specially created prize by Cannes Jury members in 2013.
The social reality in Latin America requires cinema to be deeply engaged with the world as it is. I am interested inmaking films firmly rooted in our contemporary society. True realism has it all: fantasy and reason, suffering and Utopia, the happiness and pain of our existence.
I want to give voice to migrants – human beings who challenge a system established by impassive national and international authorities by crossing borders illegally, risking their own lives in the hope of overcoming dire poverty. This film is not a documentary, rather it is a fiction based on reality, re-enacting it from a place of authenticity and integrity.
We constructed the narrative and poetics of this odyssey from the testimony of hundreds of migrants and from the personal sentiments of each and every person who participated in the creative process. As we identify with Juan and Chauk, we depart from our own daily lives and embark on a grand emotional adventure that delivers us to profound discovery – a journey dispelling the notion that happiness awaits us in a distant place, a journey offering reflection on the borders that divide nations, a journey towards awareness of what separates us as human beings.
We made this adventure in the hope of deconstructing those conventions that imprison us so we can reinvent our own reality. My dream is that these boundaries that separate us dissolve, allowing us to board another train. One whose destination doesn’t matter, a train whose passengers all know our all existence is interconnected, a train whose obstacles inspire us to celebrate our existence with respect and conscience that transcends nationalities, races, classes and beliefs.
The words of a Mexican man named Juan Menéndez López, spoken just before boarding a moving cargo train with seven of his companions, remains on my mind, “You learn a lot along the path. Here, we are all brothers. We all have the same need. What’s important is that we learn to share. Only in this way can we move ahead, only in this way can we reach our destination, only a united people can survive. As human beings, there is no place in the world where we are illegal.”