Film Series: Runs & Limited Engagements

El Mar La Mar

2017, Joshua Bonnetta and J.P. Sniadecki, USA, 94 min.

Show Times

  • Fri, Apr 20th 8:15pm
  • Sat, Apr 21st 5:00pm
  • Mon, Apr 23rd 8:00pm
  • Tue, Apr 24th 6:00pm
Chicago premiere! J.P. Sniadecki in person!

"This immersive, sensorially complex movie evokes the terrifying disorientation and loneliness of migration...The result is simultaneously elusive and concrete: abstract cinema that packs a punch." - Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

"One of the strongest films yet to emerge from SEL, and, perhaps more interestingly, an inadvertent and unsettlingly topical portrait of the American southwest.." - Jordan Cronk, Sight and Sound

"Through its awe-inspiring 16mm imagery and first-person accounts, EL MAR LA MAR effects a powerful conflation of the mythical and the geopolitical." - Giovanni Marchini Camia, Filmmaker

The Sonoran Desert, site of many a treacherous border crossing from Mexico into the United States, is the subject of this troubling, poetic documentary by filmmaker and Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab alum J.P. Sniadecki and media artist Joshua Bonnetta. Detailing the experiences of people living and working on both sides of the border, Bonnetta and Sniadecki accompany stories about the hardships of the desert with vast, desolate images of the territory covered and the occasional signs left behind by those who have braved it. Beautifully filmed on 16mm and featuring a dense audio collage of field recordings, radio broadcasts, and voiceover testimonials, EL MAR LA MAR takes an elliptical and unconventional approach to documenting the harsh physical reality of crossing the US border, with results that are alternately stunning, terrifying, and heart-wrenching. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital. (CW)

Co-director J.P. Sniadecki is scheduled to appear for audience discussion at the Friday and Saturday screenings. Saturday's screening will be moderated by Tirtza Even, an Associate Professor at the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Dept. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Play Trailer