Romantico

Kino International. 80 minutes. Billed as an “immigrant tale in reverse,” this beautifully filmed documentary follows a 57-year-old Mexican troubadour from his adopted home in San Francisco back to his hometown in Guanajuato.

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Billed as an “immigrant tale in reverse,” this beautifully filmed documentary follows a 57-year-old Mexican troubadour from his adopted home in San Francisco back to his hometown in Guanajuato.

Carmelo Muñiz Sánchez came north in 1998, crossing the Rio Grande to support his family, even though that meant leaving them. The film opens in San Francisco’s traditionally Hispanic—now hipster—Mission District, where Sánchez and his fellow musicians go restaurant to restaurant performing for gringos. We then travel with him back to the town of Salvatierra, where his wife and daughters have been living for years on his remitted income and his diabetic mother is dying. Sánchez’s reunion with his loved ones—his ailing mother without legs and his daughters desperate for him to stay for good—captures not only the pain of cultural and familial reassimilation but also the complexities of love, particularly once Sánchez begins to consider returning to the States for more money.

Absurdly, Romántico has been criticized for being too bleak, as if to suggest that, like taqueria patrons seeking uncomplicated cultural “flavor,” we want to hear only the bouncy serenades and not the tragic songs, too. When Sánchez tries to get a visa to go back to California, and we see him being ignored by an indifferent middleman, it’s a profoundly sad moment in a film that is precisely as heart-wrenching as its subject requires.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate