Chile/Argentina, 2011, 85 min
Julio is a Peruvian immigrant in Santiago, Chile, a former history teacher now reduced to working at a series of menial jobs well below his capacities. His Peruvian background, instantly recognized if not necessarily looked down on, makes him an oddity, someone unable to hide or completely blend in. His innate intelligence and ambition allow him to gradually advance; he is always trying to get a better job, obtain legal residency status, send more money back home. He begins quietly confident, taking satisfaction in his accomplishments. A ray of hope comes into his life when a young woman in a music store takes a liking to him. But as time goes on, it begins to dawn on him that the difficulties he faces are not as easily resolved as finding a better job, a place to live or a girlfriend. These matters are difficulties of the heart, for the life of an immigrant is one of overwhelming loneliness. Julio’s only lifeline is the occasional call to his mother from a public phone booth. Just as Homer’s Ulysses lived for one thing—to get back home to his beloved Penelope—Julio lives to help his mother back home in Peru. In this nuanced psychological study, director Oscar Godoy examines the life of an immigrant worker with as much of a sense of importance as if he were the subject of timeless myth. In a modern world constantly being reshaped by immigration and ever-growing economic dislocation, this is a story for our times.
New Directors Prize Contender. World Premiere.