Gael García Bernal Explores A Migrant’s Tragic Journey In New Documentary

The film Who is Dayani Cristal? – featuring the Mexican actor and activist – tells the story of an unidentified migrant who lost his life in an Arizona desert.

1. In a report by Humane Borders, since 1999 there have been 2,471 migrants deaths in Arizona alone. Most of the bodies found have not been identified.

Humane Borders

2. A new documentary by Marc Silver and Gael García Bernal tells the story of one of these unidentified migrants, who died while crossing the Sonoran desert in Arizona.

Kino Lorber

In August 2010, border patrol officers found a migrant’s decomposing body in Arizona’s infamous “corridor of death.” His only identifiable feature was a tattoo that read “Dayani Cristal.”

3. The film follows García Bernal as he travels the migrant trail from Honduras through Mexico to cross the American border.

Kino Lorber

4. Along the way, he meets other traveling migrants – some who’ve made the journey several times before.

Kino Lorber/

Their stories are often times chilling and eye-opening.

5. García Bernal explores the dangers these men, women, and children face as they travel to the United States in search of a better life.

Kino Lorber

These dangers include everything from drug cartel massacres, to kidnappings, to freezing temperatures in the desert. “I will never understand the extent of the dangers he faced,” García Bernal says about the unidentified migrant. “I can only retrace his steps.”

6. According to a press release, “The film brings viewers intimately close to the often-invisible lives that have been affected by a broken immigration policy.”

Kino Lorber

7. “This film is about migration, it’s about humanity,” García Bernal tells El Cafecito. “It is perhaps one of the most primal stories of humankind.”

Kino Lorber

8. The film won the Sundance 2013 World Cinema Cinematography Award and was featured at the 51st New York Film Festival. Who is Dayani Cristal? opens April 25 in select cities.

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Staff Writer, Super Saiyan
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