Cannes 2013: The Golden Cage (La Jaula de Oro) – review

Three Guatemalan teenagers' attempts to cross the murderous Mexico-us border region makes for gripping viewing

Even when Ken Loach doesn't have a film in competition in Cannes, his influence is still keenly felt. Spanish director Diego Quemada-Diez was a camera assistant on Loach's Carla's Song, Land and Freedom and Bread and Roses, and there is something very Loachian in this tough, absorbing, suspenseful drama showing in the Un Certain Regard section about three Guatemalan kids trying illegally to cross the Mexican border into the Us.

He has avowedly stuck to Loach's realist directing style: shooting in narrative sequence and using a semi-improvisatory approach on location. It is interesting that while British directors such as Andrea Arnold and Clio Barnard have hyper-evolved the Loach idiom into beautifully realised and photographed dramas of naturalism, Quemada-Diez is arguably closer to the gritty, grainy original.

The title comes from a Mexican ballad, Jaula de Oro,

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