‘La Marea,’ a Documentary on Life’s Small Things And The Mexican Dream

La Marea BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of La Marea.

The first thing that came to mind when I finished watching La Marea, Miguel Novelo’s new short film, was “Canción de las simples cosas.”  

Uno vuelve siempre
A los viejos sitios
Donde amó la vida
Y entonces comprende
Cómo están de ausentes
Las cosas queridas
Por eso muchacho no partas ahora
Soñando el regreso
Que el amor es simple

Y a las cosas simples las devora el tiempo

(You always come back

To the old places

Where you loved life

And then you understand

How absent they are

The things we love

That’s why boy don’t leave now

Dreaming of the return

That love is simple

And simple things are devoured by time)

Regardless of which version is your favorite (mine is Buika’s), the song and the documentary coincide in putting the spotlight on the simple things we have taken for granted but are, in fact, the most precious ones. 

When you first read the documentary’s summary — described as “a piece on the Mexican’s dream” — one might initially think of a film about immigration and painful commonplaces. 

La Marea (The Tide) breaks apart from that perspective by depicting the Mexican dream as the mere life in a coast-town, Seybaplaya, in Campeche. Jorge Carbajal, the main character, is a teenager we see enjoying a fulfilling life. Simple and perfect in its simplicity. We see Jorge walking around town, spending time with his friends and roosters, going to the circus, watching the rain falling. 

It is a sort of meditation. 

As in the act of sitting to meditate, this short film asks you just to observe. From observation comes appreciation and deep comprehension. From there on, it is possible to imagine other scenarios than leaving. Not because migrating is wrong — the idea is never even mentioned, nor as a good or bad thing but simply because the virtues of the simple things at the reach of your hand become evident before you miss them.

La Marea is being streamed for free through CINEOLA, a platform for Latin American stories committed to sharing our film industry’s diversity. CINEOLA began as a film festival in the San Francisco Bay Area. Still, the process of adapting to the cinema’s closing also allowed them to go digital and reach a broader audience.