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Cecy ear Camilo’s daughter Loida. photo courtesy of the filmmakers SHOOTING FOR LOVE IN REYNOSA A NEW DOCUMENTARY CHRONICLES A FAMILY’S EVERYDAY LIFE IN A MEXICAN BORDER TOWN. By LYDIA CRAFTS 111. exas filmmaker David Redmon was original ly drawn to Reynosa, Mexico, because it had so repelled Werner Herzog. Herzog, the German filmmaker known for shooting in extreme environments, has filmed the burning oil fields of Kuwait and an active volcano in Antarctica, but he could hardly tolerate the U.S.-Mexico border town of Reynosa, which is notorious for its demoralizing poverty, soulless maquiladoras, and pervasive crime. Herzog had gone to Mexico to avoid U.S. immigration officials who were after him for violating his visa. While in Reynosa, he bought televisions and guns in McAllen to sell across the border, and suffered an injurious stint as a rodeo rider. “My time down there was quite banal and partially miserable too:’ the director reported in Herzog on Herzog, a collection of interviews with the filmmaker. When Redmon learned about Herzog’s aversion to Reynosa, he decided to look for a documentary project there. Redmon was also driven by a difference of opinion with Herzog, whom he criticizes for magnifying dramatic situations in his films. For Redmon, it’s precisely the seemingly banal aspects of life that are most interesting. In the summer of 2003, Redmon drove to Reynosa with Ashley Sabin, his filmmaking partner and significant other. He had just finished a year’s teaching at Boston’s Emerson College, where he’d earlier met Sabin when she was an undergraduate student. In Mexico, they found a place to stay in a community of factory workers and began scavenging for stories. Initially, they wanted to shoot a documentary about a woman who sewed pink Victoria’s Secret bags on the dirt floor of her shack, but they lost track of her before they could get started. For the next month, Redmon and Sabin bicycled around Reynosa with their equipment stowed in their backpacks. They snuck into maquiladoras but invariably were caught. Unable to shoot a documentary about working conditions in maquiladoras, they refocused on a potential story about the lumber business. Redmon and Sabin had become fascinated by people building homes out of discarded wood. One day they knocked on the door of a shack made from scraps, and a young couple answered. Their names were Cecy and Camilo, and they would become the subjects of the filmmakers’ second collaborative project, a documentary titled Intimidad, intimacy. Cecy and Camilo showed the filmmakers a different side of Reynosa emotionally distant from the factories and seemingly oppressive poverty. Both 21 at the time, the couple welcomed Redmon and Sabin into their home and allowed them to begin recording their lives. Cecy and Camilo were from Santa Maria, Puebla, in the far south of Mexico, but had migrated to Reynosa to work in the maquiladoras. Too poor to afford a decent home in the more expensive north, they left their infant daughter Loida in the care of their families. Intimidad picks up the story as Cecy and Camilo pursue their modest dream of purchasing land and building a house outside the city, away from the flooded streets and pollution, where they can feel comfortable bringing Loida to live with them. The problem is that they make barely enough money to survive. Both work in maquiladoras. Cecy sews bras for Victoria’s Secret, a unit of U.S.based Limited Brands Inc. She says she gets 18 cents per bra. Camilo assembles fire hydrants for Johnson Controls Inc., another U.S. corporation. Eventually, the couple purchases land, builds a home sheathed in plywood, and sends for their daughter. Camilo works two jobs plus overtime. The young 24 THE TEXAS OBSERVER SEPTEMBER 5, 2008