Directed by MARK BECKER
In every part of the world, illegal immigrants from poorer countries find their way into richer countries in their quest for a better life. In “Romántico”, the story of Carmelo reflects desires and disappointments found the world over. And his songs bear witness to an existential quest for happiness in the face of frustrated dreams.
Romántico is a feature-length documentary portrait of Mexican musician Carmelo Muñiz. The film follows Carmelo as the troubadour returns home to scratch out a living after years of trying to get ahead in the US (San Francisco). Through his eyes, the viewer watches a migrant tale in reverse, as the film vividly captures why the 60-year-old first chose to leave his beloved family and cross the desert borderlands.
Together, Carmelo and his musical partner, Arturo Arias, roam the streets of San Francisco from restaurant to restaurant and earn a living playing love songs for tips. They are a duo, but they call themselves a trio for marketing purposes.
Carmelo’s stay in San Francisco ends abruptly when he learns that his ailing mother has taken a turn for the worse. Upon his return to Mexico, Carmelo sees his family for the first time in many years, but almost as soon as he arrives, he realizes that he can’t adequately support them. And so Carmelo picks up his guitar again in an attempt to earn enough to pay for a return trip to the States.