Sin Nombre

Without NameThriller

Learners’ Notes

  • Graphic violence and nudity, hence, not suitable for minors
  • Not very useful to beginner-level learners due to the rapid rate of speech and heavy slang usage
  • Good movie to pick up Mexican colloquialism and dialectical quirks
  • Copious use of “vos” and “vosotros,” common in Guatemala and parts of southern Mexico
brief synopsis

Sayra, a teenager living in Honduras, hungers for a brighter future. A reunion with her long-estranged father gives Sayra her only real option – emigrating with her father and her uncle into Mexico and then the United States, where her father now has a new family. Meanwhile, Casper, is a teenager living in Tapachula, Mexico. A member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang brotherhood, he has just brought to the Mara a new recruit, 12-year-old Smiley. While Smiley quickly takes to gang life, Casper tries to protect his relationship with girlfriend Martha Marlene, keeping their love a secret from the Mara. But when Martha encounters Tapachula’s Mara leader Lil’ Mago, she is brutally taken from Casper forever. Sayra and her relatives manage to cross over into Mexico and join other immigrants waiting at the Tapachula train yards. When a States-bound freight train arrives one night, they successfully rush to board – riding atop it, rather than in the cars – as does Lil’ Mago, who has commandeered Casper and Smiley along to rob immigrants. When day breaks, Lil’ Mago makes his move and Casper in turn makes a fateful decision. Casper must now navigate the psychological gauntlet of his violent existence and the physical one of the unforgiving Mara, but Sayra bravely allies herself with him as the train journeys through the Mexican countryside towards the hope of new lives.

The film takes you on a beautiful train-trip across Central America giving picture-perfect views of the Honduran and Mexican landscape and the subtle changes in accents as borders are crossed. Seasoned ears will find these changes easier to catch.