ever there was a cliché that annoyed both sides of a political debate, it would
have to be the old one about “jobs Americans just won’t do.” One of those
workers is about to find out some of those notorious jobs involve being fodder
of some kind for a nefarious something in Andres Meza-Valdes, Diego Meza-Valdes
& Eric Mainade’s short film Boniato (trailer here), which screens
during the 2016 Atlanta Film Festival.
is not just here to work. She is trying to find family that went north ahead of
her. Therefore, she will necessarily keep moving, even when there is still work
to be had. William, her current friendly exploitative employer does not
understand this restlessness. He took a bit of a shine to her so he will be
sorry to see her go. Unfortunately, since she is leaving anyway, he leads her
into a very nasty trap. Evidently, he regularly leaves migrant aliens such as
her for the nastiness lurking in the caverns below the fields they used to
work. However, on this night, the mysterious Boniato will follow them down—and he
Boniato is the sort of genre film
that also wants to make a statement, but it really makes undocumented work
without legal protection look like a really bad idea. Regardless, you have to
give Mainade and the Meza-Valdes Brothers credit for squeezing so much gore
into a twenty-three minute short. They maintain a creepy vibe, but also
seriously payoff our relatively brief investment.
Elisia, Carmela Zumbado is refreshingly tough and earthy, in the Ellen Ripley
tradition, while Felix Tuhon Cortes’ Boniato is all kinds of steely. You would
think she would be the title character, given her greater screen time, yet one
can easily envision a Boniato franchise that follows the flinty action figure
as he intervenes in various episodes of border town supernatural goings-on.
works great as a genre film, but maybe not so
well as advocacy cinema. Frankly, it makes you want to see more ICE
intervention in off-the-books agriculture rather than less. Of course, its
success as the former is far more important for potential viewers. Slickly
produced and darkly sinister, Boniato is
definitely worth checking out when it screens this Saturday (4/2) as part of
the “Wool” short programming block at this year’s Atlanta Film Festival.
Labels: AFF '16, Horror Movies, Short Films