RKS 2023 Toronto Hot Docs: “Unseen”: Compassion and Entitlement

“Unseen” is an American documentary chronicling the story of Pedro an undocumented visually impaired Mexican living in California with his family filmed over a six-year period. Pedro’s story is remarkable. It takes him years to obtain his BSW and MSW but being undocumented without a social insurance number he can’t work. A talented man one might say is penalized by United States immigration rules. Your heartstrings are tugged and compassion flows. There is something wrong and seemingly unjust.

Pedro considers his situation “unjust” and queries why he can’t have chances “other people” have making him “mad and upset”. Pedro seems to have a sense of entitlement which is odd as from the outset he knew the travails an undocumented immigrant faces. Passage of time and personal accomplishments entitle the undocumented to hop skip and jump over immigration rules?

No mention is made in the documentary about the attempts Pedro may have made to convince the immigration authorities he deserves citizenship. What is Pedro’s background? Unexplained. As a lawyer the law is the law and sympathy is no excuse to ignore it. Try to change it if you feel that necessary but until then the law is the law or at least it is supposed to work that way! If the American colonies adhered to British law would there ever have been an American revolution?

Pedro’s journey is disappointing for many and in a sappy poetical ending Pedro is at peace. Pedro has accomplished many feats above and beyond his educational exploits such as in his athletic activities but it is the legal system that rightly or wrongly prevents Pedro from realizing his dreams. Your choice dear viewer.

Much of the film is blurry in an attempting to be experimental as Pedro being visually impaired sees his world in a blur. This experimental cinematography is tiresome and fails to impress. This Hot Docs documentary screens 3/6 May. It is a world premiere and it has its LA Asian Pacific Film Festival U.S. premiere on 6 May. The director of this 87-minute documentary is Set Hernandez.

RKS 2023 Film Rating 64/100.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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