A sort of Seven Up on the Cuban raft people who took to sea during the US-Cuban standoff of 1994/5 in search of freedom, self-betterment and that nebulous American Dream, Balseros tracks a handful of characters from their first stirrings of the idea of escape, through flight, capture by the US Coast Guard and internment, to their admission and dispersal around the four corners of the United States. It's an engaged and intrepid project that thrives not only on great access and the tenacity in front of and behind the camera, but equally on the energy and verve of its own construction, particularly in the early stages when it really conveys a sense of eyes trained on the horizon. Life becomes more prosaic in the States. You miss the sight of the sea and the jazz soundtrack, and there's no doubt the film loses its grip as its subjects' hopes and outcomes diffuse. But it's strong all the same on the wrenching pot luck experience of migration. (The film was first released in 1997, then re-released with added material in 2002.
Carles Bosch, Josep M Domenech
Carles Bosch, David Trueba