• Golden Globe Awards

Guardado, Hermano (Mexico)

A small town, two brothers, Leo and Argel, facing the poverty of their family and a community forgotten by the authorities. Argel (Jorge A. Gimenez), the eldest, who has a drug addiction problem, has to take care of his brother Leo (Leonardo A. Reyes). Leo suffers from autism and his world consists of a series of reiterations, in particular a scotch whisky commercial as well as lizards that surround him. These dreamlike and real visions are distorted when he witnesses the violence, crime, sexual harassment and drug use in this lost town in Baja California. When his community is attacked by a murderous maniac, Leo enters a spiral of pain, revenge and brotherhood.
Guardado, Hermano is the debut feature of Mexican director Jorge Ivan Sanders, who with this story wanted to show us the reality of the effects that people who have endured a strong trauma in their lives tend to suffer.
The choice of using fantasy and horror was a personal decision, as it is Sanders’ favorite genre in which he saw the perfect vehicle to create the atmosphere and the realities of this story.
Shot in the small towns of Santa Anita, in Ensenada, and La Misión, in Rosario, over a little more than two weeks, the film posed a series of challenges and limitations for its director, whose main objective was to be able to work with Leonardo A. Reyes, a young autistic artist whom he met when studying at the film school.
“It all began when I met Leo. I was working in the Art Department and he wanted to be an extra in a movie, but due to his condition nobody gave him the opportunity. Later I met his family and we developed a very close relationship”, explained the director at the presentation of the film in the 37th edition of the Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG).
Despite his social dysfunction, Leonardo had expressed his desire to be an actor. “That’s how the project was born, with the initiative to give Leo a chance to see his desire fulfilled.”
The film was shot in a way that they could accommodate Leo (the character and actor who embodies autism), so that the he would feel comfortable. To do this, the director adapted certain things, rewrote the script and shoot it with Leo´s special needs in mind. “His character was built based on personal experiences and things he knew everything was very inclusive,” stated the filmmaker.
Sanders also spoke about the sources of inspiration for telling this story somewhere between the thriller and horror genre. “I’ve always seen a lot of David Lynch‘s films, but from a directing point of view, I’m fascinated by David Cronenberg and David Fincher‘s way of dealing with schizophrenia and split personality.”
Leonardo passed away seven months before the film’s release. “He was an artist with a great passion for life. The film is a tribute to him”, said the Mexican director with nostalgia.