Thursday, January 24 2013, 12:28 PM MST
Sundance Review: Who is Dayani Crystal?
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: Marc Silver
Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal
Category: World Documentary
Recommended to: Those looking for a somber meditation on boarder politics.
For his first feature-length film director Marc Silver has teamed with one of the premier documentary writers Mark Monroe (Chasing Ice, The Cove) and international star Gael Garcia Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries) to tell the story about an anonymous body found in the Arizona desert. The key to unraveling the identity of the body being the name Dayani Cristal tattooed on the bodys chest.
Who Is Dayani Cristal? isnt about identifying the body as much as it is about identifying why someone would set out on a journey that took him from his wife and three children in South America to find work in America. Were shown interviews with various relatives as well as the team of scientists and doctors who are tasked with identifying the growing number of anonymous bodies being found in the Arizona desert. Were also shown actor Gael Garcia Bernal as he retraces the path the man might have taken as he traveled toward the U.S. and Mexican boarder. Its an interesting film that addresses the immigration debate from a slightly different angle that Im used to hearing. Sadly the film does feel a bit slow, particularly the segments with Gael Garcia Bernal. Im also a little disappointed in that film engaged me on an intellectual level, but I never felt an emotional connection.
-Ryan Michael Painter
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)