I Dream In Another Language (Sueño en otro idioma)

Centerpiece: World Cinema

Director: Ernesto Contreras
2017 | Mexico, Netherlands | 101m
GENRE: Drama | Gay | Latino/a | Native American/Indigenous | Relationships
SECTION: Centerpiece | World Cinema

The mysterious circumstances surrounding a decades-long feud between the last two speakers of a dying indigenous tongue are artfully intertwined with bittersweet remembrances of the past in this poetic meditation on life and lost love.

A handsome young university researcher named Martin arrives in a remote Mexican village, deep in the Veracruz rainforest, with the intention of recording the ancient Zikril language before it disappears. The remaining locals who speak the language are all elderly. They include a woman named Jacinta, as well as two men, Isauro and Evaristo, who, for unknown reasons, have not spoken to each other in over fifty years. As Martin patiently attempts to bring the two men together for a conversation, scenes from the distant past peel back the origins of their longstanding grudge. A mystical cave where Zikril speakers gather after they pass away provides as much wonder and surprise as the central love triangle, which proves far more raw and complicated than Martin could ever have anticipated. Martin also connects with Evaristo's granddaughter, Lluvia, who teaches English to village residents and yearns to start a new life in the United States.

Director Contreras (2007's award-winning Blue Eyelids), along with screenwriter Carlos Contreras (the two are brothers and frequent collaborators), have crafted an ambitious and spiritual film, suffused with the sounds and images of the rainforest. It's a thought-provoking, stirring, and technically accomplished achievement. The filmmakers' choice not to provide subtitles for much of the dialogue spoken in Zikril (a fictional dialect) is a bold one, and it adds a beautiful layer of mystery to this enchanting drama, winner of an Audience Award in the World Cinema Dramatic category at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.


Cine+Mas - San Francisco Latino Film FestivalThe San Francisco Green Film Fest

  • Language: In Spanish with English subtitles
  • Premiere Status: Bay Area