Julio y su Angel (1998)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Childhood Drama, Urban Drama  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - Mexico   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Actor Jorge Cervera made his directorial debut with this Mexican drama, which might be described as Oliver Twist meets Whistle Down the Wind (1962). Casting professional adult actors with non-pro kids, Cervera filmed in Veracruz where the dying mother of eight-year-old Julio (Eduardo Saul Martinez) promises she will locate an angel to protect him. Instead, Julio is relegated to a harsh life at a slave-labor institution where young child workers get decent food and showers once a month -- when government inspectors arrive. To find his "angel," Julio escapes, but SeƱora Zapata (Carmen del Valle), worried that Julio will inform officials of her illegal operations, sends henchman Pablo (Guillermo Victor Carpinteiro) after the boy. After joining a group of homeless street kids, Julio believes he has found his angel when he's befriended by Angel Lopez (Cervera). The two scavenge the town dump and help a priest build an orphanage, while Pablo continues to track Julio. Shown at the 1998 Mill Valley Film Festival.