Illegal (Toronto, 2016)


Illegal: new work by Jorge Lozano
Screening by Gravity.TO, Tuesday Dec. 6, 2016 at Downward Dog, 735 Queen West, Toronto.

In Illegal_its Impact on the Body (37 minutes 2016) Jorge Lozano extends his lyric repertoire to embrace a quartet of speakers, each of them an illegal immigrant in Canada, as they narrate their experiences. Each is a composite portrait, based on real-life confessionals that were strained through the artist’s reworking and rearticulation, though they appear as fully formed subjects, speaking from the margins of their uncertain economic prospects. They tell us about their casual betrayal by friends, the constant threat of police and deportation, and ongoing exploitations. Accompanying their voice-over recitations (whenever they appear on camera their faces are never seen, their identities remain protected) is a visionary’s retake on Toronto’s downtown core, newly lensed as fringe emporium and outsider witness, hypnagogic documentary settings that are at once real and dream-like, inviting its viewers to accompany the camera on the margins of every scene. A stunning lyric work of rare virtuosity, Illegal is the culmination of a lifetime of seeing and living, the finest movie yet from Canada’s Colombian treasure house.

The closing title declaims: “A compilation from histories of illegal immigrants in Canada, nomadic friends who quickly disappeared into new identities or were forcibly deported. There are approximately 200,000 illegal immigrants in Canada. This video is just a spark of their constant reinvention of freedom, endurance and resistance. The last amnesty was in the 1980s and the only pathway to legal status is under a Humanitarian and Compassionate application with an estimated 5% success rate.”