The Box is the latest International Feature submission for Venezuela. Director Lorenzo Vigas has created another delicately told story following up to his other incredible film From Afar. Set in the region of Chihuahua, the film focuses on a teenage boy, Hatzin, who’s about to graduate to the 8th grade in school and who lives with his grandmother, after the passing of his mother. His father, Esteban, abandoned him when he was a baby.
Hatzin makes a trip from Mexico City to a small town in the middle of Northern Mexico to pick up the remains of his deceased father. Hatzin’s father has been identified because an ID tag was found in a mass grave in the middle of the desert. After signing all the documents showing proof that he’s the son, he’s given a silver coffin with the leftover remains of his dad.
As Hatzin heads back to the bus to go back to his home, he sees a man resembling his father on the side of the street. He stops to talk to the man, Mario, who refutes the claim. But Hatzin refuses to leave, knowing that this man must be his father.
As Mario slowly begins to warm up to the young boy, Hatzin is thrown head on into the underbelly of the migrant recruiting industry forever changing his outlook on life.
Lorenzo Vigas has created a simple, beautiful film about the story of a young boy who’s willing to abandon his morality for his father’s love. It’s an uncompromising coming of age story set in a corrupt Mexico where laws aren’t followed and people go missing everyday. It’s an impressive acting debut for Hatzin Navarrete. Missing people and mass graves are a common occurrence in Mexico. It seems like everyday there’s another grave found containing lots of human remains. And I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must be for those left behind, never getting an answer as to why this has happened to their loved ones. And all they get in return is a box containing what's left of them.