A trio of revenge-minded siblings head to the US–Mexico border in search of the man responsible for a family death in Guillermo Arriaga’s screenplay penned as the feature debut for his children, co-directors Mariana Arriaga and Santiago Arriaga.
Upon Open Sky
Mariana Arriaga, Santiago Arriaga
Fernando and Salvador, two teenage brothers from a well-to-do Mexican family, take their stepfather’s jeep and embark on a road trip to the border between Mexico and the United States. There they plan to track down the man they think is responsible for the car accident that caused their father’s death two years before. Joined early in the exploit by Paula, their newly acquainted stepsister — for whom the brothers develop conflicting feelings — they begin a tense but revelatory journey that will bring them to terms with who they’re becoming as much as with their father’s death.
Penned by renowned screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga — winner of the Cannes Best Screenplay Award for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and nominated for an Academy Award for Babel (TIFF ’06) — Upon Open Sky was crafted as the debut feature for his children, Mariana Arriaga and Santiago Arriaga.
Partly a powerful revenge-fuelled road movie and partly a nuanced coming-of-age narrative, Upon Open Sky doesn’t shy away from the complexities of the relationships among the teenagers or with the ways grief manifests differently in different personalities. The Arriagas create here a fierce thriller that investigates forgiveness, a recurring theme in Guillermo’s oeuvre, while probing the nature of family bonds.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: violence, sexual content, nudity, coarse language