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Months after Jesús (Juan Jesús Varela) set out on foot for the U.S. with a friend from their rural town in Guanajuato, Magdalena (Mercedes Hernandez) has lost contact with her beloved adolescent son. Determined to unravel his fate, Magdalena soon finds herself in over her head, entangled in an expansive crime syndicate and labyrinth of disorienting lies on an increasingly surreal journey to uncover the truth. At the mercy of those with the power and courage to help her find closure, Magdalena’s path fortuitously converges with that of Miguel (David Illescas), a young man not unlike her son Jesús, returning from U.S. deportation.
Ensconced within the realm of magical-realism while exhibiting remarkable narrative restraint, IDENTIFYING FEATURES is an impressive, symbolic reimagining of a culture adrift and seeking spiritual reunification. (Winner of the World Cinema Dramatic Audience and Screenplay Awards at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Winner of Best International Feature at the recent 30th Annual Gotham Awards.)
“Combines stunning cinematography, evocative sound design and hints of magical realism to create a visionary work of devastating power." —Anjana Janardhan, Sight & Sound “Through a superb central performance by [Mercedes] Hernández, the film gives an intimacy and a human face to an ongoing tragedy which has reached almost epidemic levels in Mexico…. On every level, this is impressively accomplished cinema.” —Wendy Ide, Screen Daily “Speaks volumes of the boundaries of the human heart and of the undeniable qualities of this director, who should be watched with interest.” —Fabien Lemercier, Cineuropa