Irish Film Institute -A BETTER LIFE



98 minutes| U.S.A.| 2011| Colour| D-Cinema


At once celebrated and reviled by critics, Academy-Award nominee Chris Weitz, whose singularly varied career ranges from the farcical (American Pie) to the contemplative (About a Boy), returns to his ancestral roots to direct this intimate portrait of Carlos (Demian Bichir), an undocumented immigrant who struggles to remain unnoticed by authorities while working illegally as a landscape gardener on the luscious properties of Los Angeles’ elite. Carlos’ tireless manual labour is viewed with disdain by his American-born teenage son, who feels estranged from his father as well as his Mexican heritage. While the film’s plot is generated by the fateful robbery of Carlos’ truck, it is the complexity of this father-son relationship which offers emotional impact and insight into the plight of Mexican workers fighting to remain north of the border. Shot by Javier Aguirresarobe on over 70 locations across greater Los Angeles, A Better Life is a highly cinematic but nonetheless realistic rendering of those that are otherwise left unseen. (Notes by Alice Butler).

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