Santa Barbara Independent – 07.02.2019

Day 5: Films to see

[…] Intriguing documentary filmmaker Dario Aguirre, an Ecuadorian-in-Hamburg now with official dual citizenship, returned to SBIFF this year, triggering memories of his sweet and inventive earlier film screened here, Caesar’s Grill, about his father’s restaurant in Ecuador. With his fascinating new film, Land of My Children, the ostensible storyline is simple: invited to apply for German citizenship after 15 years in Hamburg with his wife, he plunges into the maze-like bureaucratic process of getting beyond “being a foreigner.”
What may sound like slim material for feature length takes surprisingly deep turns, touching on the nature of geo-cultural roots, race, assimilation, and immigration issues. (In a post-screening Q&A, he addressed the subject of borders, calling them “an invention of the human being. I don’t know why. It’s not natural.”) Thanks to his history as a conceptual artist, Aguirre’s film also dazzles with visual energy, quirky twists, and cinema verité reflection, turning the sometimes self-indulgent genre of autobiographical docs into something deeper and more artful than it seems on paper. (by Josef Woodard)

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