Great Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-Hsien won the Golden Lion in 1989 with his extraordinary A City of Sadness. Lorenzo Vigas won the Golden Lion in 2015 with his first feature Desde allà. Both of them are part of the exclusive club of directors that the great audience is not aware have won a great award. But they’re in the records and in very good company. Lorenzo Vigas competes again this year with his third movie, La caja. Vigas is a former biologist and set a record at Venice Film Festival. He’s the first Latino American director to win the Golden Lion, proceeding Guillermo Del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón who won with The Shape of Water (2017, the movie is a US production) and Roma (2018, Mexican production).
La caja is the story of Hatzin, a young teenager who travels from Mexico City to collect the remains of his father, which have been found in a communal grave amidst the huge skies and empty landscape of Northern Mexico. But a casual encounter with a man who shares a physical resemblance with his father fills him with doubts and hope about his parent’s true whereabouts.
«Both in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, an innumerable amount of fractured families exist whereby the absence of the paternal figure is a common and nearly routine reality» explains Vigas. «Who we are as a continent is also frankly related to this reality. It is not mere chance that Latin America, where phenomena such as Peronism or Chavism have left such a profound social, political and human mark, the figure of a leader has come to fill, from the psychological perspective that father that was never present at home».
La Caja is produced by Vigas together with Michel Franco who competes this year with Sundown and also produced the Golden Lion. La Caja is the last installment of a trilogy developed around the Latin American father. The first instalment, the short Los elefantes nunca olvidan, was the seed that gave the fruit to the second installment, the debut fiction feature, Desde allá.
Alessandro De Simone