Purgatorio: A Journey to the Heart of the Border
SCR Rodrigo Reyes
CAM Justin Chin
ED Manuel Tsingaris
MUS Rodrigo Cordera
PROD CO RR Cinema / La Maroma Producciones / FOPROCINE
A self-funded four-week journey in a beat-up old van with a crew of three allowed Rodrigo Reyes to bring this cherished project to fruition. The stunningly shot results make it easy to understand why Reyes was recently named one of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film.
In Reyes’ tapestry of intimate reflection, a kind of absurd theatre unravels along the border between Mexico and the United States—a mingling of dark realities and preconceived notions collide with the aspirations of the desperate and ignored. The infamous border is presented in all its complications, its façades and its forgotten pockets of hope. It is the holder of people who live, cross, obstruct, die and intercept one another—Purgatorio compels us to connect with these border lives in a profoundly human way.
Shifting boldly through liminal perspectives, Reyes displays a disciplined approach to the technicality of the craft, conjuring careful juxtapositions of lavish imagery and thought-provoking interviews that occasionally bring to mind the work of Herzog.
There’s a disturbing context to take away from the tack-sharp images collected by cinematographer Justin Chin. They pierce the otherworldly landscapes and transport us into a nether realm—the perfect place to ponder Reyes’ "searing, horrifying, at times starkly beautiful" (Variety) observations.