Archive of films La jaula de oro / La jaula de oro

Mexico / Spain
2013, 102 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2013

This dramatic journey of adolescents Juan, Sára and Chauk, attempting to illegally enter the USA in search of their "golden dream,” plays out atop the "Beast” – the so-called freight train of death. The rails however lead to a human jungle in which such kids become the fodder of criminal gangs, corrupt bureaucrats and the army.... An award-winning debut at the 66th Cannes IFF.


Fifteen-year-old Guatemalans Juan and Sára decide to hop the highly risky "train of death” in Mexico and illegally cross into the USA. On the harrowing journey they form a trio with an Indian named Chauk, who can’t speak Spanish. Like hundreds of thousands of immigrants, forced by circumstances to undertake this uncertain expedition, these newfound friends face danger while suffering fear, pain and injustice during their drastic experience.… The title of the film comes from a Mexican ballad of the same name about the despair of those who have succeeded in crossing the frontier but find themselves in a "golden cage” as a cheap labour force with no right to permanent residence. The director spent eight years gathering the testimonies of immigrants before settling himself with a camera on the roof of the "Beast” and, with 600 non-professional actors, filming a timeless drama on a hot political topic, precise in its film language and in its approach to child non-actors. The three protagonists, chosen from among 3,000 kids, won a special ensemble award in the Un Certain Regard competition at Cannes.

About the director

Diego Quemada-Diez (b. 1969, Burgos, Spain), scriptwriter, director, cameraman and producer, now lives and works in Mexico. He began his film career as assistant to Ken Loach (Land and Freedom, Carla’s Song, Bread and Roses). Beginning in 1993 he stood behind the lens on film and television projects. As a director he created short features with a social subtext: he took on the topic of age in A Table Is a Table (Una mesa es una mesa, 2001), and in I Want to Be a Pilot (Yo quiero ser piloto, 2006) – the story of a boy in Kenya who dreams of a pilot’s career – he treats poverty. The latter film was screened at some 200 festivals where it garnered more than 50 international awards. After his short doc La morena (2006), he garnered recognition with his feature debut La jaula de oro.


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About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Another View
Director: Diego Quemada-Diez
Screenplay: Diego Quemada-Diez, Gibran Portela and Lucia Carreras
Dir. of Photography: Maria Secco
Music: Jacobo Lieberman, Leonardo Heiblum
Editor: Paloma López Carrillo, Felipe Gómez
Producer: Inna Payán, Luis Salinas, Edher Campos
Production: Animal de Luz Films, Machete Producciones
Cast: Brandon Lopez, Rodolfo Dominguez, Karen Martinez
Contact: Films Boutique


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