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Every man remembers how hard it is being 15 years old: Your voice is cracking, your hormones are raging, school is boring, the girl you love is a young prostitute who won’t go out with you because you don’t have enough cash, so you start crossing the border in order to save enough money to buy a rooster so you can enter a cockfight and win her love. It’s a tale as old as time itself.
TIJUANA MAKES ME HAPPY, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Slamdance Film Festival and the Indie Max Award at the San Antonio Film Festival, is both a charming coming-of-age story and a celebration of the most infamous of all Mexican border towns. It’s also a subtle criticism of society’s lust for money and success and the lengths to which people will go to attain both. For the film’s hero, Indio (Ortiz), the city’s red-light district is a siren’s song of erotic mystery. While just across the border – the “other side,” as Tijuanans call it – lies a world of boundless economic possibility. In the middle resides Indio’s loyalty to his underemployed but decent father, Jhonny (Rocha). Which to choose? Which to choose?
“… a great film, neo realism a la Tito of Rosselini, a very hard thing to do, every twenty years maybe somebody pulls it off. Plus the non judgmentalism of it all, a great piece of art…”
Eitan Gorlin, director of The Holy Land
“… Pablo Tendilla Ortiz is an engaging screen presence as Indio, the pic’s young protagonist…”
Joe Leydon, Variety
“… an accomplishment and a contribution.”
Rebecca Wiegand, IndieIN