La Jaula de Oro

About two years ago I noticed that I hadn’t seen Brandon in a while. Brandon was staple at Young Life club – helping with dramas, telling jokes, break dancing before and after club. “Oh, he was cast in a movie. He’s somewhere in Mexico.”


If you want the skeptic in me to come out, tell me a kid from the slums of Zone 3 of Guatemala City was cast in a movie, is somewhere in Mexico, and is going to go to Los Angeles. I really believed I wouldn’t see Brandon again.

Fast forward two months. Brandon’s back with photos of him break dancing on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Ok, now I believe there’s a movie. But, is it legit?

Fast forward a year. Brandon’s going to France. His movie is going to premier at the Cannes International Film Festival, and as one of the three main characters, he gets to go. To France. Brandon came back with pictures of himself break dancing in front of the Eiffel Tower and an award in hand for “Best Actors” in his movies’ category, “Un Certain Regard.”

I think this movie thing is legit.

On Monday night I had about 4 missed calls. When we finally connected, it was Brandon. “I have passes if you and Joel want to come to the premier of ‘La Jaula de Oro’ at Festival Icaro.” Festival Icaro is a film festival Central America, and movies are showing in Guatemala this week. Not only is this movie real, but now I get to see it – I wouldn’t have missed that for the world!

La Jaula de Oro (The Golden Cage –, opens with Juan (Brandon), walking down the alleyway of El Recuerdo – the community where we have Young Life club. The storyline reveals Juan’s fight to get to the US with his friends. It’s not dramatized. It’s real. Too real. It left me with a pit in my stomach – people do that to go to my country and that’s how it ends. 

The movie ends with Brandon’s character picking up meat scraps from the floor of a meat packing plant. Cleaning up scraps in the promised land.

Thankfully, our night ended with Brandon on stage smiling as the crowd gave the actors a standing ovation.

At Festival Icaro - Brandon, third from left, and Hector, far right, are both Vida Joven kids!
At Festival Icaro – Brandon, third from left, and Hector, far right, are both Vida Joven kids!



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