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The Golden Dream(La jaula de oro)

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Mexico, Spain, Guatemala · 2013
1h 50m
Director Diego Quemada-Díez
Starring Karen Martínez, Rodolfo Domínguez, Brandon López, Carlos Chajon
Genre Drama

Guatemalan teenagers Samuel, Sara, and Juan plan to escape their poverty at home and travel to California --- the place of their dreams. However, once they start their journey, they quickly realize just how mentally and physically challenging it will be.

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What are critics saying?


Empire by

A tough yet tender and beautifully crafted human drama that more than earns those Loach comparisons.


Village Voice by Alan Scherstuhl

For all its heart and strong performances, there's little new here. Still, the ending is perfect, triumphant and heartbreaking all at once, demonstrating that Quemada-Diez gets the reality of U.S. life.


Time Out London by Dave Calhoun

Director and co-writer Diego Quemada-Díez condenses many acute observations about life as an emigrant into a sure-footed, credible story.


CineVue by Ed Frankl

Quemada-Díez filmed The Golden Dream chronologically using natural light and real locations, utilising Super 16 film to give his first feature a documentary shimmer. He also worked as a camera operator on Alejandro González Iñárritu's 21 Grams (2003), with whom he shares his penchant for opulent landscapes and narratives, and a sense of beauty amidst unforgiving reality.


Total Film by Kevin Harley

You root for them as they bond, bicker and endure grim dangers – gangs, traffickers, police – but Quemada-Díez doesn’t play soft, and the stinging climax really sticks with you.


The Playlist by Nikola Grozdanovic

It's a wonderful thing to experience a film unshackled from Hollywood conventionality and unburdened by the necessity for simplistic storytelling.


Variety by Peter Debruge

Though it takes some work to engage with the characters at first, the journey makes a powerful impact.


Los Angeles Times by Robert Abele

The movie exists in a space beyond arguments about immigration policy and border security, and while sometimes a little too willfully pokey, it speaks to something indelibly human about dreams and their costs.


The Telegraph by Tim Robey

Quemada-Díez thinks in images, and his film is too offhandedly credible in its details to feel like a thesis he’s trying to prove: it’s poetry, not prose.

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