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Who is Dayani Cristal?: The case for immigration reform

2.5 out of 4 stars

Title
Who is Dayani Cristal?
Directed by
Marc Silver
Genre
Documentary
Classification
14A
Country
U.K./Mexico
Language
Spanish/English
Year
2012

A well-intended if over-calculated plea to reform Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law, this year's Sundance opener begins with the discovery of a corpse in the desert – a man with the name "Dayani Cristal" tattooed on his chest. Working in three separate strands, the film follows Arizona forensic experts and immigration advocates attempting to identify the body, then visits the dead man's Honduras village for interviews with his family and relatives. In the film's most awkward strand, Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal dons cheap clothes and, with videographer in tow, reconstructs the dead man's long journey through Guatemala and Mexico to Arizona. Too much of the film, unfortunately, consists of immigration reform advocates stating the obvious, interspersed with images of bodies on autopsy tables and the handsome Bernal atop a train, gazing at Mexican vistas.

April 27, 12 p.m., Bloor; April 29, 4 p.m., Bader; May 5, 9:30 p.m., Lightbox.

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About the Author
Film critic

Liam Lacey is a film critic for The Globe and Mail. More

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