Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Harvest of Redemption (2007) NR - 3 Stars

Based on a true story about a family drama from the 1920's. It's the coming of age story of a young boy growing up in a migrant fruit picking family who witnesses his father's death over taking 3 ears of corn. It's a low budget film, but I still enjoyed it and parts of the movie are spoken in Spanish with subtitles. I liked the way it starts out in B&W, then changes sepia tone as Oscar is 12, and finally to color later when Oscar seeks redemption on this wrong doing from his youth.

The story takes place in the cotton and corn fields of South Texas Rio Grande Valley, where Oscar's father and grandfather have both worked. Oscar (J.R. Villarreal) and Sonny (Dominik Chilleri) are best friends coming from two different family cultures. Sonny is the son of white family that owns the fields. Oscar is the son of a Mexican family that picks the crops. But the boys are inseparable and do not see the difference between them.

When Oscar and his father Pedro Escobedo (Jimmy Gonzales) were out hunting one day, he asked Oscar to go to the field and take some fresh corn. Sonny and his father Mr. Wilkens (Thomas Daniel) are driving up and saw them take the corn, a major no no from any of the workers. Sonny's father orders Pedro to put the corn back and as he goes to retrieve the corn from their box, he shoots Pedro in the back killing him. Oscar must now grow up with the resentment of watching his father murder at the hands of this white man. Shortly after, his mother Maria (Rosa Anzaldua) dies giving birth and Oscar is under the care of his grandfather Juan Escobedo (Juan Cuellar).

The years pass and Oscar (Joey Partida) meets Carmelita (Laura Perez) and falls instantly in love with her. But once again he feels belittled when Carmelita's father calls him a migrant worker and forbids her from seeing him. He finally feels he must seek revenge on the man who murdered his father. Begging for forgiveness in advance from God, he confronts the killer and wants him to know the pain he has caused him living without his dad. He fires his gun and shoots with the bullet landing in grown up Sonny (Zach Freeman) instead.

Oscar flees to Juarez Mexico until his return to the U.S. enlisting as a Marine to show Carmelita he can be something. But on his dying bed, he asks for forgiveness once again from the man who killed his father, by returning the box of stolen corn to him. This is his Harvest of Redemption.

2007 - International Film Awards - Best Foreign Drama

Hippo Films
Director: Javier Chapa
Writers: Javier Chapa,Eddie Howell,Laura Perez
Producer: Arturo Ayala
I viewed 7/08

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