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average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Aug 20, 2021

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Jefferson Stein
Written by:
Jefferson Stein
Amaya Juan, Zuemmy Carrillo, Virginia Patricio

Two little girls meet at the Mexico-United States border and develop a friendship.


One day, Elsa (Juan), an indigenous child living in Southern Arizona, on the Tohono O'odham Nation, is left by herself at her home, while her father attends to work-related matters. While wandering around in the countryside, she comes across Ena (Carrillo), a Hispanic girl who is the same age as her. Ena is all alone, having being separated from her father, while trying to cross the border. Although they do not speak each other's language, the two girls remain together and go on a long walk, during which they grab a bite to eat, play various games, visit a food shop, before ending up at the house of Elsa's grandmother.


This thoughtful and moving drama tells a story about a bond between two children, under awkward and dramatic circumstances. Ena is in a devastating situation: she is just a child, alone in a foreign country and her future is very uncertain. She and Elsa are innocent and playful and are oblivious to what is happening around them, regarding the harsh realities of illegal immigration. At one point they pass by illegal immigrants being detained by the authorities and later they are near another group of illegals being escorted across the border by men with guns. Although certain things around them are bleak, the two girls have fun and enjoy each other's company, indicating that children tend to look at the bright side of things.


The plot explores illegal immigration issues and the mise-en-scene shows that, with the presence of Border Patrol and illegal smugglers. Ena represents the awful consequences of attempting to cross the border illegally, which is children getting lost and finding themselves in danger.


The two protagonists deliver convincing and emotional performances. Juan plays her role well as a happy, carefree child and Carrillo also does a good job as a foreign, lost child. Patricio is sympathetic as the caring grandmother.


Stein creates wonderful establishing shots that capture the beauty of the surrounding countryside and makes effective use of well-executed long takes. Composer Amanda Jones develops a beautiful and dramatic score that includes violin music.


This story is a hard-hitting look into illegal immigration but it also presents the kindness and generocity of people, by showing how Elsa and her grandmother help Ena. This is an emotional and very well made short that should be experienced.



About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Short Film
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