Certainly you’ve read about communal graves periodically found in remote places. If you’re anything like me, you assume it has to do with some drug cartel, thank the stars that you don’t live in such a dangerous part of the world, and soon move on with your life. We don’t often consider how a person copes with a relative’s unexplained disappearance, or how it feels to be asked to pick up what is left of a loved one. 

LA CAJA (THE BOX) is a fictional story telling of Hatzín (played by non-professional actor Hatzín Navarrete), a young teenager from Mexico City who travels to northern Mexico to collect the remains of his father found in a communal grave in a vast desert. On the way home with the box, Hatzín sees a man out of the bus’ window and is instantly convinced that he is his father. Stubbornly, he forces his way into the man’s life and becomes involved in the “family business” – the exploitative recruitment of factory workers. Hatzín soon finds himself in a high-stakes, dangerous coming of age story, in a case of “be careful what you wish for.”

THE BOX is thought-provoking, interesting, forcing you into a deeper consideration of one of our world’s terrible realities. It was directed by acclaimed Venezuelan writer-director Lorenzo Vigas, with a collaboration of teams from Venezuela, Mexico, and the US. It had its world premiere in the official competition at the Venice Film Festival and is Venezuela’s official Oscar® submission for Best International Feature Film. 

If you are in NYC you can watch it starting today, Nov. 4, at Cinema Village. Otherwise, make a note to watch it on MUBI starting Nov. 11, 2022.