What We Leave Behind

Directed by: Iliana Sosa
Distributed by: Array

Written by Alexander Reams


Filming her grandfather over several years, Iliana Sosa captured her grandfather’s life, his memories, and his monthly journey from Mexico to El Paso, Texas to see his family. This has been a staple in his life for several decades and this is his last time making it which leads him to reflect a lot throughout the journey, which is intercut from archive footage that Sosa has gathered over the years. When he returns, he is wrestling with the new reality: he won’t be traveling to see his family again. This causes a transition that clearly separates the first part from the second half of the film, as he begins building a house in the empty lot next to his home, in an effort to pursue peace and contentment.

Sosa is relatively new behind the camera but her shots never feel that way, her confidence in the story she tells is infectious, and the warmth of her frames joyous. Her tenderness towards her grandfather is present throughout, but that doesn’t make the film any less engaging. It conjures a feeling that most films fail to achieve: care. Care of their subject, and over the environment. Sosa cares about both and has a reverence for those who came before her. We are able to relate to her grandfather, and by the end, we feel like we’ve been on this years-long journey with him.

“What We Leave Behind” Trailer

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

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