In a country where every man is considered equal, there are a few living invisibly within the United States. The invisible are undocumented civilians who go unnoticed do to fear of persecution for living in the country illegally and the possibility of being deported for doing what everyone else in this country is doing, living. In A Better Life by filmmaker Chris Weitz, grandson to Mexican actress Lupita Tovar, Weitz’s film which opens on June 24th tells the story of a man who is living an invisible life within America.
A Better Life casts a Light on the Invisible
After hearing a story about a Mexican gardener who wouldn’t go to local authorities after his truck was stolen because he feared the authorities, who were sworn to protect all members of the community, because he was undocumented, Weitz intends on using the film in bringing light to the growing problem concerning the invisible lives of undocumented American citizens.
When asked about the film and its inspiring story, Weitz describes that, “it revealed a whole world of people who are living invisible lives. They are not fully members of our society because they are afraid.” Although the immigration debate is still ongoing, growing hotter by the moment, Weitz clarifies that the purpose of his is not against the, “immigration system or the police. We are turning the camera on a segment of society that is largely unseen in this country.”
A Better Film stars familiar Mexican actor Demián Bichir (Steven Soderbergh’s Che and Showtime’s Weeds) as Carlos Galindo, an hardworking undocumented gardener who is trying to raise his teenage son on his own while trying to keep him away from the lure of the gang culture gripping East L.A. The film follows Galindo who goes on a search to find his stolen truck and in the process manages to reclaim a livelihood for himself despite the situation he is living in.
In selecting an actor for the role of Galindo, Weitz states that Bichir was the best choice for the part because “your level of belief is decreased,” meaning that by casting a barely known actor allows for a more realistic depiction for audience members that a recognizable actor may not be able to bring. While Bichir is entirely well-known in the states, Weitz acknowledges that Bichir is “famous in Mexico, he’s is tremendously skilled, but he’s not terribly well known to American viewers.”
When describing his character, Bichir states that Galindo is “a brave, low-profile kind of man, with true dignity and a sensibility toward anything that has to do with a love for his son.” Apart from describing his character, Bichir acknowledges Galindo and other undocumented citizens living in the U.S and how being “undocumented does not allow you to lead a free life.” Weitz adds to the description of both character and film as being “an old-fashioned film about the misunderstanding between generations,” due to Galindo’s tense relationship with his Mexican-American son who does not believe that like his father, “he can make it here (US) through hard work.”
A Better Life will allow viewers an in-depth look into the country where decent and hardworking individuals like Carlos living within a world kept invisible alongside ours in fear of being persecuted for legitimacy in status. In describing the lives of the undocumented citizens living invisibly within the US, Bichir states that these citizens are “real human beings. They exist, they have a house, a job, they pay taxes, they have families. I think it’s important to give names and faces to these people. And then we can help each other.”