Yesterday I reviewed Almanya (you can read my review here) - an upbeat, entertaining film about a Turkish family in Germany. Still on the theme of immigration, today I saw A Better Life, a low beat, depressing film about a Mexican family in California.
Carlos is an illegal immigrant working a regular job as a gardener, but his boss is selling up and moving back to Mexico. He offers Carlos the sale of his truck, but Carlos can't afford it and hasn't anyway gor a driver's licence.
This truck forms the centre of the film as hopes are raised by Carlos' sister lending him the money to buy it. But where this should help Carlos to create himself a better life, things aren't that simple.
Meanwhile Carlos' son Luis is skipping school and getting into bad company. He is much more Americanised that Carlos. Where his Dad tries to keep in the background, Luis is quite quick to fight. Over the course of the film though the two become much closer and start to understand each other's perspectives.
This is a very well observed film about the issues around being undocumented in the USA. Behind the main characters there's a whole world in view, as the action passes through many areas of Los Angeles, showing fights, political rallies and lines of illegal immigrants looking for work.
I saw a press screeing of this film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Public Screenings are: 19.45, 24 June and 17.45, 25 June, both in Cameo 1. You can book tickets on the EIFF website here.