Contemporary World Cinema | 2017 | 90 minutes
Stranger Says: When a poor girl from Honduras meets Hecho—a charming, handsome stranger who offers to rescue her from the everyday violence of her homeland and take her to be with her mother in the United States—she thinks her prayers have been answered. And for a while, this seems to be true. But as they approach their destination, Hecho’s intentions for her are revealed, and her nightmare, she soon realizes, is just beginning. With Sulem Calderon, Jesy McKinney, and Kate Bosworth, Nona is a horror film disguised as a romance.
SIFF Says:“I paint the dead,” Nona (Sulem Calderon) tells an unseen interrogator in segments that frame her story. “I make them beautiful.” A young woman living in a shantytown in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, mortality surrounds her: she works as a morgue cosmetologist, her brothers and father are all dead, and she grew up thinking it was normal to see a murdered body in the street. “I am not afraid of death,” she reasons. “I believe it saved me.” Enter Hecho (Jesy McKinney), a handsome traveler who claims to be nursing a broken heart. Intrigued by his carefree wanderlust, she takes him up on his offer to leave Honduras behind and head toward the United States, where she can finally reunite with her mother. As the pair travels north by car, by bus, by boat, and by foot through Guatemala and Mexico, Nona’s world seems to gloriously open up, one filled with opportunity and happiness just a few countries away. But the world is also an unforgiving place, and when Hecho’s true intentions slowly become clear, her journey turns perilous. With NONA, American director Michael Polish (TWIN FALLS IDAHO, NORTHFORK) has created a harrowing, compassionate thriller that puts a face to Central America’s human trafficking industry, drawing us in with a lush travelogue that carries deeply sinister undertones with each mile they travel.
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