Amnesty International screens Who Is Dayani Cristal? at Rosendale Theatre

Gael García Bernal in Who Is Dayani Cristal?

Deep in the sun-blistered Sonora Desert, in the so-called Corridor of Death, Arizona border police discover a decomposing male body. Lifting a tattered tee-shirt, they expose a tattoo that reads “Dayani Cristal.” Who is this person? What brought him here? How did he die?

Who Is Dayani Cristal? is the title of a documentary by Marc Silver that attempts to answer these questions, and in the process shine a light on the harsh realities facing undocumented migrant workers. It won the Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013, and has taken on fresh resonance in these days of talk about building a wall along the entire US/Mexico border (not to mention the horrific proportions of the Syrian refugee crisis). Who Is Dayani Cristal? will be screened Tuesday, April 18 at the Rosendale Theatre as the sixth annual Human Rights Film showing sponsored by the Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter of Amnesty International.

Following a team of dedicated staff from the Pima County Morgue in Arizona, director Silver seeks to give this anonymous man an identity. As the forensic investigation unfolds, Mexican actor/activist Gael García Bernal retraces this man’s steps along the migrant trail in Central America. In an effort to understand what it must have felt like to make this final journey, he embeds himself among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border. He experiences firsthand the dangers they face and learns of their motivations, hopes and fears. As we travel north, these voices from the other side of the border wall give us a rare insight into the human stories that are so often ignored in the immigration debate.

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Amnesty International USA is currently working on a campaign called #NoBanNoWall to stop the executive order banning people from several Muslim-majority countries, suspending the refugee program and slashing the number of refugees who can be admitted when the program restarts. The Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter is also working to pass a resolution in the State Senate and Assembly welcoming refugees to New York State. The screening of Who Is Dayani Cristal? begins at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, and will be followed by a discussion led by Diana Zuckerman, Spanish language and culture educator at Rondout Valley High School and a member of Human Rights/Amnesty International. Admission is by voluntary donation.

The Rosendale Theatre is located at 408 Main Street (Route 213) in Rosendale. The Theatre is handicapped-accessible, with ample parking in the municipal lot in the rear. For more information about the event, and about other local Amnesty activities, e-mail amnestyhudsonvalley@yahoo.com. To view a trailer and find out more about the film, see http://whoisdayanicristal.com.