Rocío

Directed by Darío Guerrero

60 minutes / Color
Spanish; English / English subtitles
Closed Captioned
Release: 2022
Copyright: 2019

Weaving together footage from over a quarter of a century, Rocío follows the family of undocumented Mexican immigrant and Harvard University student Darío Guerrero as they struggle to stay together in the face of his mother's terminal illness and the punishing constraints of U.S. immigration law. When news of Rocío Meneses Díaz's diagnosis with cancer forces Darío to take a leave of absence from Harvard, he returns to his family's Los Angeles home to help care for her and document the way illness profoundly transforms his family's life.

After exhausting available treatment options in the U.S., Darío makes the life-altering decision to accompany his mother to an alternative treatment center in Mexico, throwing the future of his immigration status and education into doubt. In spite of his status as a DACA recipient, Darío faces opposition from immigration authorities when he attempts to return to the U.S., culminating in a struggle for temporary humanitarian parole that garners national media attention.

Interweaving poignant scenes from childhood home movies with intimate family discussions of mortality, Guerrero crafts a narrative of migration and loss. Touching on topics ranging from the indeterminacies of immigration status, familial memory, and traditional medicine, Rocío locates the core of its emotional narrative at the intersection of private experience and political reality.

"Revel[s] in wonder, revealing death as a process not just wrenching but also magical." Meghan Gilbride, Los Angeles Review of Books

“A film in which history and everyday life, the political and the personal, the extraordinary and the ordinary, seem to be folded into each other.”
Laura Frahm, Introduction to Media Cultural Studies co-editor and professor, Harvard University
 
“Deeply, daringly personal, gazing at once with intimacy and an unwavering and at times discomfiting eye at his mother, and his family, at the end of her life. A remarkable accomplishment.”
Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Leviathan co-director and professor, Harvard University

“One of the most moving and ambitious documentary film theses I’ve seen at Harvard in my many years of teaching here.” Ross McElwee, Sherman's March director and professor, Harvard University

“Recommended for courses relating to immigrant law, death and dying, family responses to the critically ill, and holistic/traditional medicine.”Victoria Dawkins, Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)

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Select Accolades

  • Hoopes Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Work, Harvard University
  • Best Documentary, FemFest Film Festival
  • Official Selection, Cine Las Americas
  • Official Selection, Immigrant Film Festival
  • Official Selection, American Fringe, The Cinémathèque Française
  • Official Selection, Johns Hopkins University Forums on Race in America
  • Official Selection, BlackStar Film Festival
  • Official Selection, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
  • Official Selection, San Diego Latino Film Festival

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