Wednesday, 2 July 2014


Though it pursues a familiar trajectory, Diego Quemada Diaz's The Golden Dream feels like a more vital, consequential piece of filmmaking than almost all others you might see. Its themes carry a legitimacy, the nature in which they are presented a candour and a heartfelt sympathy, that one rather feels it puts all other films to shame, as if this is the purpose for which the  medium of cinema ought to be exploited. Quemada Diaz's approach is ostensibly realism, the incandescent cinematography the only immediate suggestion that he's aspiring to anything grander, artistically. But his unyielding focus on the most pertinent details in each particular moment betrays his true intent, to present his story in a more abstract form than initially apparent. Diaz is hugely perceptive with his visual storytelling, also incisively comprehending the tendency in children to become taciturn in trauma, and while his scope may be expansive, his message is narrow and clear. It's a massive setting for an extremely intimate film, like the foreboding landscapes these youths are dumped upon, or the large train carriages they sit atop, or are seen beside. For all his astuteness, his subtlety and his humanitarianism, Quemada Diaz doesn't display much will to surprise us with his film, that is until the final moments. Here, in a crowded, confined space, he suddenly asks us to reassess how we envisage this unfortunate teen's future, insidiously implying that he may spend the rest of his life coping with the dregs of a more demanding society's garbage. That Diaz is able to cling to hope is a curious fact in such circumstances, though that affords us a dazzling closing shot that makes The Golden Dream's ending one of the finest I've seen in some time.