Watch the trailer for Venezuelan director Lorenzo Vigas’s The Box (La caja) ahead of the film’s stateside release via Mubi.
The film focuses on an adolescent boy named Hatzín (non-professional, first-time actor Hatzín Navarrete) from Mexico City, whose father’s corpse was recently discovered amid a mass grave in the country’s vast northern territory. On his way back to the capital after identifying the remains, he is shocked when he comes across a man who bears a striking resemblance to his dad. The boy quickly enmeshes himself in the man’s life—who denies any possible paternal relation—increasingly convinced that the body in the morgue could not have been his father. Desperate to please his newfound guardian, the boy becomes involved in what he believes is their latest familial operation—recruiting factory workers through violent, exploitative means.
The film effectively concludes Vigas’s film trilogy that explores father figures, a prevalent theme in his 2004 short Elephants Never Forget and his 2015 feature debut From Afar, which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, the first Latin American film to take the prize in the fest’s then-72-year history. Notably, From Afar DP Sergio Armstrong—a frequent collaborator of Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín—returns to collaborate with Vigas on The Box. Other established Vigas staples appear to be returning with him: fiendish father figures, first-time actors and violent class divisions.
The Box opens on Friday, November 4 at New York City’s Cinema Village before hitting MUBI’s streaming platform one week later on November 11.