Screened as part of NZIFF 2013

La jaula de oro 2013

Directed by Diego Quemada-Diez

“This powerful yet unsentimental thriller keeps audiences guessing as four Central American kids head to the US.” — Variety. “Tough, absorbing, suspenseful – a very substantial movie, with great compassion and urgency.” — The Guardian

Mexico / Spain In Spanish and Tzotzil with English subtitles
101 minutes CinemaScope / DCP


Inna Payán
Luis Salinas
Edher Campos


Diego Quemada-Diez
Gibrán Portela
Lucía Carreras


María Secco


Paloma López Carillo
Felipe Gómez

Production designer

Carlos Jacques


Leo Heiblum
Jacobo Lieberman


Brandon López (Juan)
Rodolfo Domínguez (Chauk)
Karen Martínez (Sara)
Carlos Chajón (Samuel)


Cannes (Un Certain Regard) 2013


“Spanish director Diego Quemada-Diez was a camera assistant [for] Ken Loach… and there is something very Loachian in this tough, absorbing, suspenseful drama about three Guatemalan kids trying illegally to cross the Mexican border into the US… Brandon López and Karen Martínez play Juan and Sara, two kids who are desperate to get out of Guatemala, along with a young Indian boy they meet, Chauk. With some US dollar bills sewn secretly into their jeans, they plan on hopping boxcars and riding the rails up through Mexico and then over the border into California… Sara has prudently decided to disguise herself as a boy called ‘Oswaldo’ by cutting her hair, wearing a cap and taping up her chest under her shapeless T-shirt. It creates a poignant romantic tension and there is even a tender sort of Jules et Jim frisson between the three of them… It is a very substantial movie, with great compassion and urgency.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian