The Golden Dream directed by Diego Quemada-Díez is a beautiful and deeply troubling film that satisfies on many levels. A good story well told and acted, an odyssey, a coming of age in a hostile world, it’s one of those films that lingers in the mind till you have to watch it again.
Four Guatemalan teenagers journey towards America, joining ‘the beast,’ the train loaded with illegal immigrants hoping to reach the US border and the golden dream like so many migrating birds. In Spanish the title is the golden cage which perhaps captures more of the engulfing compulsion to migrate.
A motif runs through the film, a beautiful black and white shot of silver flakes falling from the sky. It could be the Milky Way falling to earth, or charred paper, a symbol of hopes gone up in smoke. Eventually we learn what it is – no spoilers – and the film is all the more poignant.
We know the outcome for political or economic migrants: overindulged faces turn away from their plight, hearts turn to stone. Not even the law is on their side, and certainly not the establishment.