Sin Nombre

Hidden Flick: Thousand Barefoot Children

Rain Delay: The current Hidden Flick edition was delayed two weeks due to an onslaught of rain: A ladder leading from a garden to a spring, we sit on a branch and ask questions to a pool of water: “In the whirlpool of darkness, can you see the light? Do you ever get thirsty? Do you love the fish? How old are you? Do you get younger each time it rains? Does the rain come from you, or back to you? Do you ever feel old? Are you fond of algae? Do you prefer fishermen or sailors? Are you open? Are you friends with the forest? Are you enemies of the night? Do you prefer bright or harsh? Do you write and sing? Can you hear music? Visions of Johanna? Do you play instruments that dance on the forest floor so the animals will be entertained? What came first—land, air, or sea? Are you an island onto yourself? Can you see me? Can you be like me? Can you go away when you dream, or are you always self-aware?”

We salvage an answer or three, and wander onwards, climbing further, always climbing, down dark, treacherous paths, sifting through false clues, rummaging through the dreams of yesterday, swimming in the daunting mists of the abyss; lost, we wander downwards, ever onwards, wandering spirits as we gaze below, down into the valleys of the soul.

Sifting through the wreckage, we ponder a thousand barefoot children, bereft of disease, but waiting for opportunities that never come. Privilege is not always a given in this life, and when one seeks to understand why some children persevere and conquer life’s challenges, while others fail, and fall from grace, never to rise again, one must comprehend the simple truth that, whereas the rain does come down, shooting water bullets in torrential sheets of violence, it isn’t necessarily always such a bad thing.

In Cary Joji Fukunaga’s seminal 2009 film Sin Nombre, or Nameless, as the title is translated in English, the young step away from the machine, and create their own society based on a strict allegiance to brotherhood, a code of honor and an unbreakable bond. Alas, even a close-knit group of like-minded individuals cannot save all the children from the paths that either define or deflect the growth of their individual characters.

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