Lo que dejamos atrás (What We Leave Behind)

Director: Iliana Sosa Run Time: 71 min. Release Year: 2022 Language: Spanish, English

Presented by The DocYard
Co-sponsored by CineFest Latino Boston
Filmmaker in Person!

After a lifetime of bus rides to the US to visit his children, Julián quietly starts building a house in Mexico for his blind son, and perhaps, also for his daughters and many grandchildren.

At the age of 89, Julián takes one last bus ride to El Paso, Texas, to visit his daughters and their children—a lengthy trip he has made without fail every month for decades—he’s been forbidden from taking the bus alone. After returning to rural Mexico, he quietly and proudly starts building a house in the empty lot next to his home. Over seven years, director Iliana Sosa films her grandfather’s work in this patient, present-tense observational film, where her conversations with Julián bring up previously unspoken memories. In the absence of Julián’s physical visits, can this new house bridge the distance between his loved ones?

Sosa’s debut documentary, What We Leave Behind, is a heartfelt consideration of the legacies of farmworkers, mutual caregivers, and transnational families. Without being reduced to these parts, the film hinges upon Julián’s past as a bracero, a seasonal migrant farmworkers program to alleviate labor shortages in the US after WWII; his care for his son, who is blind; and a visual examination of the land and the work that goes into improving it. – Abby Sun

World Premiere at the 2022 SXSW.

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Trailer