Mexican film puts human face on immigration

Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:46am EDT
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mexican film director Patricia Riggen faced so many challenges making her new film, "Under The Same Moon," that she almost gave up, but it is good for audiences and for Riggen that she persevered.

The Spanish-language film, which debuted in major U.S. cities this week and will play around the country in days ahead, puts a human face on illegal immigration. Yet, Riggen hopes audiences will see beyond political issues and be touched by the tale of a mother and son who long to reunite.

Using its Spanish title, "La Misma Luna" ("The Same Moon"), the movie earned a standing ovation at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and became a darling of that year's event -- the top gathering for independent film in the United States.

Fox Searchlight, the art-house distributor behind such hits as "Juno," quickly snapped it up for theaters. It all seemed like a dream, Riggen said, but getting there was no easy task.

"It was my first full-length feature. We had no money, no time, and people told me I was crazy to even try" to make the movie, Riggen told Reuters.

"Under the Same Moon" tells of a Mexican mother, Rosario, working illegally as a domestic laborer in Los Angeles while her son Carlos is left behind in Mexico.

After years apart, the 9-year-old boy decides to risk everything and cross the border in search of his mother. What ensues is a tale of the extreme measures immigrants will take to come to the United States and the harrowing trip they face.

Riggen insists that she never set out to push political buttons when starting work on the movie three years ago by developing the script with writer Ligiah Villalobos.   Continued...

<p>Director and producer Patricia Riggen attends a photo-call for the movie "La Misma Luna" during the 2007 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, January 22, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>