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People in Film | Cary Fukunaga
Posted January 11, 2011 to photo album "People in Film | Cary Fukunaga"
Get to know Cary Fukunaga, the acclaimed director of Focus Features’ Jane Eyre and Sin Nombre.
Cary Fukunaga | Sin Nombre
By 2008, Cary Fukunaga was in Mexico, shooting his debut feature, Sin Nombre, for Focus Features. The film tells the tale of a beautiful young Honduran woman, Sayra (Paulina Gaytan), who joins her father and uncle on train-top odyssey across the Latin American countryside en route to the United States. Along the way she meets a teenaged Mexican gang member, El Casper (Edgar M. Flores), who is fleeing his own violent past and trying to elude his unforgiving former associates. And then there’s Smiley (Kristian Ferrer), a young boy whose desire to please the fellow members of his newly joined gang clashes dramatically with the dreams of Sayra and Casper. Fukunaga had traveled through Central America and Mexico while making the film, and crafted the film's realistic characters through first-hand research. The film more than fulfilled the promise of his first feature, marrying the intensity of his short film Victoria Para Chino to gripping, empathetic characters, all against a backdrop that indeed seemed part latter-day Western, part Mad Max. Of this influence, Fukunaga said, "The environment feels like that of a Western. You can’t have trains or bandits without thinking of Westerns. And also the themes — you think of John Ford, Huston, some of the bigger Westerns and there is a sense of retribution. A lot of the stories are about justice, closing a chapter on something that happened earlier in the film, so in that way [Sin Nombre] is definitely constructed like that. Looking for a new life, hope — those are themes found in Westerns." Fukunaga’s film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival where it won the Directing and Cinematography Award. In a four-star review, Roger Ebert wrote, “[Sin Nombre] contains risk, violence, a little romance, even fleeting moments of humor, but most of all, it sees what danger and heartbreak are involved. It is riveting from start to finish.”