(CYN) Cardboard Dreams

CARLA IS ONE OF MILLIONS OF YOUNG LATINAS who form the permanent U.S. subculture of the children of undocumented workers. Growing up in the U.S.—“the other side” in the common parlance of Mexico—she is “neither from here nor there,” her life enmeshed in an uneasy truce between mutually dependent peoples.

As a young child, Carla aspires to become a physician, hoping one day to cure her beloved but chronically ill grandfather. Her dream is encouraged by her family’s simple, powerful love as she moves from one academic victory to the next. Yet her family’s legal status—and their hardscrabble efforts to eke out a meager existence—anchors Carla to a fading past even as she forges toward an expectant future. Full of fire and hope after college graduation, Carla faces full force the consequences of her legal status, and her vision of medical school is soon abandoned.

As Carla navigates these new and treacherous waters of disappointment, her story occasionally glances off that of Krupa, an Indian girl escaping a painful personal event. In the story’s climax, their very separate experiences fully intersect in a single moment of forgiveness and redemption.

These are the children of the DREAM Act. And it is for them that writer and director Pablo Veliz (director of La Tragedia de Macario, Sundance 2006 Official Selection) creates this timeless story of the immigrant’s relentless pursuit of dreams that seemingly lie just beyond reach.