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Director: Erick Stoll, Chase Whiteside
Presented by: Erick Stoll, Chase Whiteside
2018, USA, 77 Minutes, DCP
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside’s breathtaking documentary América focuses on a young family who has to put their dreams on hold to tend to the realities of their ailing nonagenarian grandmother. The film premiered at True/False and went on to Full Frame Documentary Film Festival where the directors picked up the Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award.
América, is the 93 year old matriarch of the Serrano family. She is suffering from dementia and has recently fallen out of her bed, sustaining injuries which cause her son to be jailed for neglect. Diego, one of her grandchildren who works as a circus performer in a distant seaside vacation resort, must return home to help his brothers care for the deteriorating América. Diego has grand notions about his grandmother’s injury being an act of fate to bring estranged brothers back together. However, these fanciful notions quickly give way to the harsh realities of caring for someone in their 90s. Tensions rise as the three young brothers face challenges they may find themselves unready to face. They are now responsible for making some very big decisions about the fate of their beloved grandmother and their own immediate futures.
América is a film that will hang with you days after you leave the theater, with its haunting and poetic approach to documenting lives in transition. Stoll and Whiteside’s work captures indelible moments of tenderness and rage, joy and sorrow, and the blood ties that bind a young family faced with one of life’s biggest quandaries: how to cope with the inevitable mortality of loved ones. América is as touching and vital as any non-fiction film as you’re likely to see this or any year. (Scott Braid)
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