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Identifying Features

Directed by: Fernanda Valadez | 2020 | 1h 34m | Unrated | In Spanish w/ English subtitles

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• General Admission – $12.00

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Devoid of a traditional score and brimming with captivating visuals, IDENTIFYING FEATURES tells the story of a Mexican mother searching for the son who went missing on his way to illegally cross the border into the United States with a starkness that distills the narrative down to its most essential moments and emotions.

*Winner of the World Cinema Dramatic Audience and Screenplay Awards at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival*

Middle-aged Magdalena (Mercedes Hernandez) has lost contact with her son after he took off with a friend from their town of Guanajuato to cross the border into the U.S., hopeful to find work. Desperate to find out what happened to him—and to know whether or not he’s even alive—she embarks on an ever-expanding and increasingly dangerous journey to discover the truth. At the same time, a young man named Miguel (David Illescas) has returned to Mexico after being deported from the U.S., and eventually his path converges with Magdalena’s. From this simple but urgent premise, director Fernanda Valadez has crafted a lyrical, suspenseful slow burn, equally constructed of moments of beauty and horror, and which leads to a startling, shattering conclusion.

“Hypnotic and heartbreaking, Identifying Features is a feature debut to marvel at, but only once you’re able to shake off the bone-deep chills emanating from Mexican filmmaker Fernanda Valadez’s disorienting tale of a mother’s search for her missing son.”

“Some movies wound us so profoundly that once darkness has consumed their final frame we are incapable of shaking off the heartache. That’s the power of Identifying Features, which is as painfully intimate as it is unsparing in its indictment of a country ravaged by a corrosive, entrenched evil.”

“The film’s stylistic approach places an unmistakable and compelling veil of empathy around Magdalena, Miguel and the migrant workers just trying to survive amid violence, economic desperation and political strife.”