I’ve been waiting for a chance to see PRESUMED GUILTY for months. The movie is, as expected, a Law & Order film and, as unexpected, an uplifting story of empowerment and personal justice. It’s one man’s struggle through the Mexican legal system after he gets convicted of a homicide he didn’t commit. It’s gotten critical acclaim internationally and, now, it’s showing at Silverdocs.
The visuals pulled me in and the strong storyline kept my attention. I also have to point out the detail spent on sound design and the sound track. It was superb. And, I found out that all of the hip hop songs were written and performed by the main character, Tono. Each character was perfectly crafted – as if they were in a Mexican Soap – each cast by an agent. There was a annoying shifting judge, crooked detective with excellent facial expressions, and a pregnant fiance. There was injustice, drama, and joy.
As I started absorbing everything I was seeing and feeling I was hit by the film’s access. The cameras were everywhere that cameras have never been before. The cameras followed the main character – Tono – behind bars in every corner of the prison and recorded the entire trial.
My personal pet peeve is with documentaries that take on a specific issue and then don’t explain what can be done to join the “mission”. This film has a clear message and just as clear directions for those who want to help “the cause”.
As it happens – yesterday the directors Roberto Hernández & Geoffrey Smith were in attendance. They answered questions from the audience. And while it’s always interesting to get additional background on the film, the most interesting part of the Q&A was that each question was preceded by and exclamation about the film’s excellence. Also notable was the emotion that was still evident in Roberto as he held back tears when discussing his experience with Tono (the main character of the film).
Unfortunately, there are no additional showings of PRESUMED GUILTY at Silverdocs. But, I have good news. A one hour version of the film will be aired on July 27th on PBS – for all to enjoy. Check your local listings to times. I also encourage everyone to check out the film’s website for future screenings and details.
Festival Tip of the Day: You can join the stand-by line before the movie and extra seats will be released 15 minutes before the movie starts.
5 out of 5 Cheers —