“La Loteria” (dir. Shahir Daud, 2014, 8:21)
In Shahir Daud’s short film “La Loteria,” Ismael Cruz Córdova plays Augusto, a young man who’s just gotten the good news that he can immigrate to the United States, which also presents him with a crisis, because he’s in love with a girl named Savanna (Ines Milans), and will have to accelerate their relationship if he wants to keep it alive. According to Daud (in an e-mail to The Dissolve), “It’s based on the true story of how I won the U.S. green card lottery while in New Zealand, only to discover that in order to stay together, my girlfriend and I needed to get married… in one week’s time.” Daud adds, “Now living in New York, I decided to translate the story into Spanish as I felt it would be easier to cast and be more relevant to a New York audience. “
For more on the story behind the story, Daud’s website has a video he made for his real-life wedding, which features lot of the same brightness and sense of humor as this short. “La Loteria” also bears some similarities to Alfonso Cuarón’s early films, in its digressive structure—which has Augusto looking back on the biggest regrets of his life, while considering how to proceed with Savanna—and in the way it segues easily from whimsy to lyricism, and remains rooted in a real situation throughout. The dilemma in “La Loteria” is one that lots of people face every day, when they get an amazing opportunity and have to balance it against the possibility that it could cost them their soulmate. The real story in this film is one about two kids who have to grow up in a hurry, to live up to one of the most important decisions they’ll ever make.
Previous “Short Cuts” columns can be found here.