Dreamers short film review

★★★★

Directed by #MariaJuranic

Short Film Review by Jack Bottomley




Watching director #MariaJuranic’s short film Dreamers was not only an expressive experience but quite an enlightening one. Coming from the viewpoint of someone across the pond, I had no idea about some of the workings of the American systems for immigration and people caught up in this struggle to simply exist in the States. Especially in the midst of one of the most heated and fiercely divisive administrations in history. As such, this film was rather timely, and done in a way that may strike some as odd, but which feels strangely right in a time where expression and voice is so important.

The film sees a young woman struggle through an overfacingly broken system of DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) documentation, as she tries to get her papers approved. The title alone suggests a very personal take on the frustrating and fearful experiences many face in pursuing this course, especially in the controversial modern day.


In 2012 Obama would issue this DACA order, after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) did not pass in congress. But in 2017 President Trump sought to end this program (which aimed to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation, people that arrived at a very young age, and in ways out of their control). These affected young people were named 'DREAMers'.


This background is important to being able to read into the strong message of this effectively choreographed (by #LisaBerman) and performed display of feeling and life through dance. Though not essential! As I say, I knew very little of any of this, but was able to ascertain from the film itself, the message being delivered here. In fact the film’s closing statement highlights the alarming stakes of this issue, stating what so many young people in America face and in the wake of this week’s election, Dreamers plants its feet down at a most vital and worrying time.


The dancers perform their routine brilliantly, displaying the story through their movement, their pace and their vigour. This is not the approach that will suit all tastes and, it does certainly have an almost educational type quality to it. Though the story being told is really rather simple, albeit complicated by the overwhelming system around it. Director/producer Maria Juranic, alongside producers Lisa Berman and #ThomasBusch know exactly what they want to relay to the audience and you feel yourself, like the lead, submerged by the moving parts of the office, the flying paperwork and the dogmatic and cold system of typewriters and stamps.


#BrandonBoulay’s cinematography, alongside #PaperTiger’s excellent score, work in unison, further placing you in the emotions of the many nameless people, carrying their papers, awaiting approval and security. It is a very aesthetic short film, that is made in a graceful and driven way. And through exciting dance and some nicely edited in (by Juranic and #LaurenJosephine) shots in the fields, you get a well conveyed sense of hope, frustration, confusion and struggle.


The fight goes on but the right to live in peace makes that fight one that is ever important.


#JackBottomley