Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal’s acting careers have taken slightly different paths since the charolastra life-partners first exploded on the scene with 2001’s Y tu mamá también. But over the years both have made clear that when it comes to film, they’re more than just a couple of pretty faces. In addition to their work as producers and writers, they’ve shown a love for the director’s chair that has turned them into perennial Sundance faves, and this year Luna is back premiering his latest directorial endeavor, Mr. Pig, as part of the prestigious official competition.
The film stars Danny Glover and Maya Rudolph, and tells the multi-layered story of a dying farmer who steals across the U.S.-Mexico border with an undocumented pig in order to give him a life he could never have in the United States. With Rudolph playing Glover’s daughter, Luna digs into very personal themes of parent-child relationships, while also opening the door for interpretations related to immigration and U.S.-Mexico relations.
A short clip released in advance of the premiere finds Rudolph surprising Glover in a motel room, where he cares for what we can only assume is a sick hog laid out on the bed. The clip gives a sense of Luna’s style, with handheld camerawork and dim, flat lighting giving a documentary feel to the scene. The actors draw out each line and pause almost to the point of discomfort, further driving home a sense of emotional realism in which all that is unspoken between the two seems to linger between the lines.
Mr. Pig is Luna’s third feature as director, following up on 2014’s much bigger César Chávez, and just last year he was at Sundance with his short film La nana. Some observers have gone so far as to draw connections between Mr. Pig and Y tu mamá también, and frankly they wouldn’t be too far off: Alfonso Cuarón was heavily involved in the editing process, where he shared notes and observations that helped Luna bring the film to its final form.
Mr. Pig will continue playing Park City’s most prestigious film event through January 31st, and will hopefully end up at a theater near you before too long.