• Golden Globe Awards

The Box (Venezuela)

A dark coming-of-age thriller, The Box is the latest offering from Venezuelan director Lorenzo Vigas, and stars Hatzin Navarrete, who marks his acting debut. Navarrete plays Hatzin, a teenager from Mexico City who travels to a remote desert town north of Mexico to search for his father’s remains, which he believes to be buried in a hidden mass grave.
While traveling on the bus, he sees a passerby on the street who, from his picture on an ID card, resembles the father he barely knew. Hatzin’s plans abruptly change, and he jumps off the bus to find Mario (Hernan Mendoza), who he believes is his father with a newly-acquired identity. Eventually, after much rebuffing from Mario, he insinuates himself into his life.
Hatzin quickly becomes valuable to Mario’s business, and just as quickly Hatzin realizes that many of Mario’s workers are working under egregious conditions in various local clothing factories. Hatzin’s realizes that Mario’s business practices may not be above board, and that the workers are being exploited.
Vigas, who won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival for his debut movie From Afar in 2015, was present at a Q and A after a screening at the Ipic Theater. He talks about his interest in the subject of toxic masculinity. “This film is about how this boy can escape toxic masculinity. The boy is really trying to belong, to have a family, but is this his family? And what is he willing to do or not do to belong? Especially so if you haven’t had a father figure at home that every boy needs,” he says.
Another important theme of the film is the existential question of moral ambiguity. Vigas explains, “It’s part of life. Sometimes we hate our mother, sometimes we love her. Sometimes we hate our partner, and sometimes we love our partner. We don’t like to be put into uncomfortable positions of deciding what is good or what is bad, but it’s part of life and it should be part of art for me. So, I think ambiguity is very important, not only for life, but for art and for films.”
He sums up his motivation and what inspires him to make movies. “No one is bad. No one is really a nice guy, either. So that’s why I like making ambiguous films.”