Monday, 22 September 2014

Who Is Dayani Cristal?

The widening of the gap between rich and poor is a global problem but none more so than at the border between the USA and it's neighbouring Latin American countries. Marc Silver and Gael Garcia Bernal’s documentary does not deal with the economic migrants that manage to get into one of the worlds riches countries but these that die in the attempt. It's in the Sonora Desert, Arizona, which borders Mexico, that we find the 'The corridor of death' where it is alleged hundreds of bodies lie undiscovered and 700 of the 2000 of those that were found over the last ten years have never been identified - lost to their families and friends for ever.
The journey begins.
This documentary is the story one such ‘body’, how the remains were found in the desert, like most of the other unfortunates, with no paperwork or form of identity, only in this case a tattoo spread across his chest which included two words ‘Dayani Cristal’, the investigators had no idea if this was the mans name or some other form of identification? It was on the 3rd August 2013 that the body was found, the only certainty was that this man was an ‘illegal’. The Search and Rescue Unit of the County Sheriffs Department took the body to the Tucson mortuary in a body bag; various dedicated professionals are tasked to investigate this poor souls identity with only the tattoo to go by. They include the County’s Medical Examiner, the Missing Persons Investigator and the forensic team as well as many hard working public servants from both sides of the border.

Sometimes the journey does not end well!

We find out who this man is and were he comes from, but I’ll only reveal what you have probably already guessed. Our John Doe is a poverty level Farmer trying to eke out a living to support his wife and two children. The film goes into detail about the journey this man has to undertake to reach his goal of the ‘promised land’ and the chance of a better living to allow him to send back money to his impoverished family.
Another attempt to reach the 'promised land' goes wrong!

No one knows how many people actually manage to cross into the USA because only the failures are recorded. In the year 2000 there were 19 migrant deaths per year, since then the death toll has increased ten fold!  Who Is Dayani Cristal?  (2013) is the story of people that progress from a dream to a statistic tempted by a capitalism society that if they should succeed to reach will only exploit them! This is a story of people that are invisible in life as well as death. Unbelievable our victim was found just a twenty minutes car journey from the centre of Tucson! A moving, unsentimental documentary, about the tragedy that befalls many economic migrants.

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