Sundance: La Mission
I had the good fortune to see a screening at the Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City on Saturday night called La Mission. The family team of Benjamin and Peter Bratt have put together a remarkable movie…one of the most interesting and soulful I have ever seen at Sundance. As the title indicates, the film takes place in the colorful and unpredictable Mission district of San Fransisco and deals with a number of different cultural and emotional issues in an intense, riveting and sometimes comical way. ..yet it never loses focus. As a whole, the movie goes to the core of what helps make any important relationship successful…the effort to find the power to overcome what disturbs you most about one to whom you are deeply attached. I’ll paste the movie synopsis here, but suffice it to say, the movie is even better than the preview suggests. As a photographer I appreciated the storytelling and beautiful cinematography. Benjamin Bratt has to be one of the most talented and daring actors in the film industry today. The audience was also treated to a great Q and A with the filmmaker and cast after the screening.
“Set in the colorful, seedy streets of the San Francisco district that bears its name, La MISSION is a story of redemption imbued with the curative power of Aztec tradition. Feared, yet respected, as the baddest Chicano on the block, Che (Benjamin Bratt), a reformed inmate and recovering alcoholic, resorts to violence and intimidation to get what he wants. A bus driver by day, Che lives for his beloved son, Jesse, his lifelong friends, and his passion for lowrider cars. Che and the “Mission Boyz” salvage junked cars, transforming them into classics.Che’s macho world is crushed when he discovers that Jesse’s been living a secret life. In a violent rage, Che pummels Jesse and throws him out of the house. Lena, an attractive neighbor and a force to be reckoned with, is a woman with a few secrets of her own. Mutual attraction percolates as Lena challenges Che to reconcile the life he thought he had.Sundance veteran Peter Bratt (Follow Me Home) returns with a powerful second feature. Propelled by commanding performances from Jeremy Ray Valdez as Jesse and Erika Alexander as Lena—and featuring an exceptional turn by Benjamin Bratt—La MISSION is a haunting story of healing and transformation: the healing of a broken man, of a father’s relationship with his son, and of a neighborhood struggling to break the chains of violence.”