Lupe Under The Sun is meandering film that paints a bleak picture of life for an ageing economic migrant.
Having spent many years toiling away as a fruit picker in the United States, Mexican-born Lupe longs for home. After being away for so long, however, returning will be more of a struggle than he imagined…
Writer-director Rodrigo Reyes tells his tale of a man evaluating his life in a laconic fashion. Lupe Under The Sun is a slow burner, with more emphasis on tone and feeling than moving the narrative forward. The story is a simple one, which unfolds at a glacial pace.
Lupe is a world-weary protagonist, however this is not immediately obvious. The film begins with a regular day in Lupe’s life. This sequence is repeated a number of times. This gives viewers a clear picture of the protagonist’s life; it becomes apparent how repetitive his lifestyle is. By taking viewers through the motion, Lupe Under The Sun empathises the emptiness of the title character’s existence. He appears to exist to work mostly, save for a weekly visit to a girlfriend he is non-comital towards.
The protagonist is a monosyllabic character; much more is conveyed through actions. In fact, there is very little dialogue in the film. Lupe Under The Sun is the portrait of an economic migrant in California. The film exhibits what can happen to an ageing worker, long separated from his family. Reyes highlights the sparse existence through the lack of interaction, the tiny, poorly furnished home, and the meagre meals. The film depicts the human cost of these workers. There is also the personal story here – Lupe relies heavily on alcohol and does not appear to have made an effort to keep in touch with his family. Nevertheless, the focus remains on the sparseness of such a life. Daniel Muratalla brings a quiet weariness to the character of Lupe.
Although it is not the most striking of films, Lupe Under The Sun lingers in the mind for its wider themes.
Lupe Under The Sun is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2016.