After a 15-year stint in a United States prison, Francisco “Cisco” Castillo returns home to the Dominican Republic to find that life isn’t any easier in his old surroundings. Due to his criminal record, he can’t hold down a job, and his alcoholic mother favors her youngest son, a budding teenage criminal who is one stick-up away from jail, or worse. Reluctantly taking up back-alley street fighting to earn cash, Cisco forms an alliance with Nichi, a washed-up boxer from Italy who’s struggling with a gambling addiction. To better both of their financial situations, Nichi offers to train the naturally gifted Cisco in the boxing ring.
Co-directors Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas put a delicate touch to this hard-hitting boxing drama, rooting a double-sided story of redemption in the mean streets of the Dominican Republic—where the hint of paradise offered by the island always seems just out of reach.
The Dominican-Mexican duo of Laura Amelia Guzmán (Dominican Republic, 1980) and Israel Cárdenas (Mexico, 1980) have directed, written, produced and photographed several feature films to date. Their 2014 film, Dólares de Arena, starring Geraldine Chaplin, has been recognized and awarded on several occasions.
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