A classic tale of a mother and child reunion, La Misma Luna is a sweet Fox DVD release that won the hearts of Sundance attendees when it screened there. The film is directed by Patricia Riggen, the screenplay was penned by Ligiah Villalobos.
The cast features young Mexican actor Adrian Alonso as the intrepid Carlitos, a kid left behind with his loving Abuelita (Angelina Pelaez) in Mexico as mum strikes her fate northward.
Mother is Rosario, played by the arresting beauty, Kate del Castillo. A supporting cast shines especially with Enrique, one of the "angels" who unwittingly comes to the aid of Carlitos in his solo travels, played beautifully by Eugenio Derbez.
The central premise to his tale overrides the simplistic and heavy handedness the filmmakers take with a divisive issue that many cannot see eye to eye on. This film is strictly told from the POV of an illegal immigrant, and the villains (save for one Brujo coyote) are all white.
The story weaves a series of angels and demons around our little Carlitos. In true "Dog of Flanders" tip of the hat; one night he loses his grandma and sets out on his own, perils be damned. He will find his mother.
Rosario, his mother, is completely unaware that anything has gone badly. She continues her dead-end cleaning jobs and soon is wooed by a Chicano named Paco (Gabriel Porras) –an easy out for the E-ticket green-card.
We have several scenes where her rich Blanca employer (Jacqueline Voltaire) treats her miserably (think "Cinderella"). This is where the writers go into their tangents, especially after Paco delivers his little screed on white Americans: "First they screwed the Indians, then they screwed the slaves, and now they're screwing us Mexicans."
Angels for Carlitos come in the form of two matrons; "Reina" and "Dona Carmen" (a great actress - Carmen Salinas) both who try to look out for him. An unwitting angel manifests in his traveling partner, Enrique, who bows to his conscience and winds up delivering Carlitos to the place where he is most likely to find his mother; all he has is a scrap of paper with a PO Box address, nothing else. Their scenes together are the best moments in the movie.
America Ferrara has a cameo as a college student with actor Jesse Garcia – the two trying to make a quick buck when their good intentions go horribly awry at the border. Their car is impounded, and Carlitos is tucked inside a wheel well in the hot car, they never find him after this. Carlitos forges ahead.
Demons abound too, and the usual predatory types try to take Carlitos' money or abduct him for some horrible fate.
Monsters and Critics got a chance to ask Alonso some questions regarding his role as Carlitos.
M&C: How did you prepare to play Carlitos?
Alonso: Well I was sent the script, read it and did my research on the Internet about immigration and those issues.
M&C: Tell me about your scene when you had to climb in the tire well of the SUV America was driving, was that scary for you?
Alonso: That scene was very scary for me, because I am claustrophobic and it was really hot. I was sweating and very scared while we shot that particular moment with American in the SUV.
That scene was the hardest for me to do in the whole film.
M&C: Tell me about Eugenio Derbez and your scenes together.
Alonso: I loved working with Eugenio, he was like a father figure, and we had fun in the restaurant scene together, that was my favorite scene. He is from Mexico too, we shot our scenes in two weeks, and had a lot of fun.
Cast: Carmen Salinas, Angelina Pelaez, Gabriel Porras, Maria Rojo, Ignacio Guadalupe, Mario Almada, Ernesto D'Alessio, America Ferrera, Los Tigres del Norte.