The body of an unidentified immigrant is found in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert – the deadliest crossing point from Mexico into the United States. His body bears the tattoo “Dayani Cristal,” the solitary clue to his identity. In an attempt to retrace his path and discover his story, director Marc Silver and producer Gael Garcia Bernal embed themselves among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border, providing rare insight into the human stories which are so often ignored in the immigration debate. The startling hybrid documentary Who is Dayani Cristal? looks at the immigration issue from the most basic human vantage point. Silver follows a team of forensic anthropologists from the Arizona Medical Examiner’s office as they analyze the remains of the unknown immigrant found in the desert. Silver cuts between the anthropologists as they slowly and painstakingly piece together the man’s identity, and Bernal as a migrant on the arduous journey by train and on foot through Latin America and all the way to the southern US border and the possibility of a new life. Unfolding like a thrilling crime drama, the film builds to an emotionally devastating climax. Who Is Dayani Cristal? tells the story of one migrant who found himself in that deadly stretch of desert known as “the corridor of death” and how one life becomes testimony to the tragic results of the US war on immigration. (Dir. by Marc Silver, 2013, Mexico/USA, in English and Spanish with subtitles, 85 mins., Not Rated, Kino Lorber) Digital
This special Tucson premiere of Who Is Dayani Cristal will be co-presented by the Loft Cinema and the Colibrí Center for Human Rights. The Colibrí Center is proud to announce its launch this year as a non-profit, non-governmental organization working to assist families of missing migrants through human identification and comprehensive forensic research. The work of the Missing Migrant Project, which developed into the Colibrí Center, is portrayed in the film along with local heroes from the Medical Examiner’s Office.