couple’s relationship nearly falls apart in the struggle for money. The filmmakers say they wanted to document Cecy’s and Camilo’s lives mainly because they found their warmth and openness extraordinary. Redmon and Sabin ended up following their subjects for five years, even giving Cecy and Camilo a camera to film themselves, making for an unconventional film that Sabin describes as part home video. As the film evolved, so did the relationship between documentarians and subjects. While Cecy and Camilo’s struggle points to large, socioeconomic issues like the multinationals that won’t pay living wages and NAFTA’s impact on Mexican familiesthe film’s true focus is on the family’s everyday lives. What could have been a depressing treatise on economic inequality emerges as an uplifting portrait of familial affection and commitment. Though they have next to nothing, Cecy and Camilo maintain their sense of humor and persevere to build better lives for themselves and their daughter aspirations the filmmakers clearly regard as reminiscent of the American Dream. Redmon and Sabin hope Intimidad will help U.S. audiences relate to the challenges facing Mexican migrant workers and their families. “People in America tend to write off Mexicans,” Sabin says. “We wanted to film a more personal story that people could connect to on a human level, that shows that what people want around the world is much the same: simply a home and a sense of security” REUNION IN REYNOSA On a sweltering afternoon this past May, Redmon and Sabin drive to Reynosa in a mid-1990s Honda Civic with no airconditioning, a tendency to overheat, and a “Make Trade Fair” bumper sticker. Since Intimidad’s premiere at Austin’s South by Southwest Film Festival last March, the pair has been touring the U.S. showing the documentary at film festivals. They have $900 to deliver to Cecy and Camilo, having agreed to split their screening proceeds with the couple. They’ve also been selling jewelry made by Cecy along the way. As the filmmakers near the couple’s neighborhood on the outskirts of Reynosa, Cecy and Camilo’s lime-green house stands out among the muted gray and brown shacks nearby. The family is not home when the filmmakers arrive, but Redmon and Sabin note the changes since their last visit, in January. Cecy and Camilo have planted a garden, started a second room on their home, and constructed an outhouse with plywood walls, where Loida has painted her name and a heart in yellow. Not long after the filmmakers arrive, Cecy and Loida return. Cecy has soft features and a contemplative face, while Loida has wide, curious eyes. Loida shows off her silver purse as Redmon asks Cecy about the last several months, making the most of his limited Spanish. At one point, Cecy interrupts the conversation, giggling and pointing at Redmon’s pants. It’s the first time she’s ever seen him in anything other than his favorite red corduroys. About an hour later, Camilo arrives from the factory. He’s initially more reserved than Cecy, but later in the evening, when Redmon shows him a documentary on his computer called Manufactured Landscapes, he becomes more animated. The first five minutes of the film feature a factory tour, highlighting the facility’s massive size and impersonal nature. “That’s exactly what it’s like,” Camilo says, not without pride. The personal bond between the documentarians and Cecy and Camilo underscores one of the film’s primary artistic achievements. Cecy and Camilo say they agreed to have their lives recorded primarily because of their fondness for Redmon and Sabin. At one point, they say, Cecy and Camilo’s neighbors insisted that the filmmakers planned to kidnap Loida, but the Mexican couple ignored them. While the emotional connection between the couples made Intimidad possible, it also created dilemmas. Redmon and Sabin struggled to find a balance between documenting intimacy and maintaining respect for their subjects’ privacy. That struggle came to the forefront when the filmmakers traveled to Santa Maria with Cecy and Camilo over Christmas to visit Loida and their families. When Cecy and Camilo greeted Loida, she turned away. Sabin says she felt uncomfortable filming the scene and held back, fearing she might upset Cecy. She only began to record the encounteran important moment in the film, as it demonstrates the effect separation has had on Loidawhen Cecy gestured to move closer. Later in the trip, Camilo cries when he learns that Cecy won’t be returning with him to Reynosa. The filmmakers decided Sabin should shoot the scene, fearing Camilo might conceal his emotions with a man filming. Sabin says she hesitated to document the moment because she had never seen Camilo so vulnerable. “When Cecy was crying, I didn’t feel as uncomfortable filming because she’s very emotional: Sabin says. But Camilo’s very macho” The filmmakers’ close relationship with their subjects also raised questions about their ability to maintain a detached viewpoint. Redmon and Sabin consulted the Mexican couple on especially personal scenes, such as Cecy’s father’s funeral and the moment Camilo cries. This fact led audience members at the Independent Film Festival of Boston last April to question the filmmakers’ editorial independence. The fact that “WE WANTED TO FILM A MORE PERSONAL STORY THAT PEOPLE COULD CONNECT TO ON A HUMAN LEVEL, THAT SHOWS THAT WHAT PEOPLE WANT AROUND THE WORLD IS MUCH THE SAME: SIMPLY A HOME AND A SENSE OF SECURITY.” SEPTEMBER 5, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 25
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