Debris: When a human life means almost nothing…

Looking for a job can be quite daunting, especially when the search doesn’t totally go as planned. You think that you have the right skills, competence, and attitude but still you can’t find anything. Imagine how hard it must be like for people who come from another country and who want to immigrate. Sadly, when the need for a job is too high, others might start to take advantage of that. That’s exactly what happens in “Debris” from director Julio O. Ramos (“Countdown to yes”, “Detras del espejo”). With his gripping, intriguing and well-made the short film, he makes us aware again of the possibly disastrous consequences of illegal workers.

Together with a few of his colleagues, Armando (Tenoch Huerta) is working on a building construction site. It seems to go relatively well until his co-worker Rafael (Jorge Diaz) becomes badly wounded. After bringing him inside, Armando’s crew is trying to do everything to save him. However, it seems that there’s much more at stake than just his life…

Saying more about the plot might spoil it but rest assured that “Debris” is a film you need to see. Mostly because of the relevant topic. When going to work you might not think about the fact that some people struggle to find a job and especially when they want or need to (illegally) immigrate. Because of their desperation, their lives might become worse than the one they had before. It also becomes clear what their insufferable working circumstances are, both in this film and in real-life: uncertainty, doubts, pain and the fear of losing everything. It’s extremely important to bring that personal topic to the big screen and no better way than to do it with emotional and very human performances.

The most moving and passionate one comes from Huerta (“Narcos: Mexico”, “Here on Earth”). We can certainly feel Armando’s determination, love, and kindness but also pain, anger, and anxiety thanks to the fine acting of Huerta. He’s the one that rules in this film. Not only when it comes to the performance but also when it comes to screen time. While Diaz (“Hijo de mi Madre”) doesn’t have any lines, he brings over his emotions beautifully thanks to his marvellous performance. As mentioned before, there are people out those who (ab)use illegal workers. In “Debris”, they’re being portrayed by Karren Karagulian (“Tangerine”, “The Florida Project”) and Daniyar (“The Laundromat”, “Sweetbitter”). They both bring power, darkness, and cruelty to the screen with a very enjoyable performance. We also want to applaud the two remaining two cast members, Hansel Ramírez (“Myra”, “Socorro”) as Roberto and Abraham Luna (“NCIS: Los Angeles”, “Intent”), with their wonderful and touching performance.

Not only the acting makes sure that this film gets this ‘human’ and ‘ordinary’ vibe but also this short movie was shot. The setting they used is one you can easily find near you: A house that’s being refurbished with bricks, dust and broken wood all over the place. There’re also no special effects (that’s what it looks like anyway) used in this movie and so that everyday feeling is being created even more. Also, the lack of a score makes this film feel very natural.

After receiving the Jury Award at the Oxford Film Festival and Special Mention of the Jury award at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, this short movie’s success will increase even more. It would be 100% well-deserved. Together with stunning performances of his cast and the impeccable skills of his crew, Ramos makes a socially important and enjoyable movie.

LISELOTTE VANOPHEM

 

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