Ligiah Villalobos chats with students at the Princess Basma Cultural Center.
Nate von Zumwalt, Editorial Coordinator
The disparities that demarcate life in Mexico and the landlocked Arab country of Jordan are, ostensibly, vast and boundless. The two are quite literally half a world from one another, inhabited by starkly dissimilar populations and only thinly united by their rich histories and cultures. Even still, it’s those contrasts that make screening a film like Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna), written by Film Forward participant Ligiah Villalobos, such a rewarding experience for both the artist and audiences.
Under the Same Moon tells the story of Rosario, an undocumented Mexican immigrant working in the United States with the hope of giving her son, Carlitos, a better life, while leaving him under the care of his grandmother. Both Villalobos and director Patricia Riggen are Mexican-Americans intimately familiar with the challenges and complexities of immigration, an issue that is as pertinent as ever in Jordan in light of the recent uprising in neighboring Syria. During a week of screenings and discussions with a myriad of Jordanian audiences–from film club members to university film students to local cinephiles–Villalobos chipped away at the cultural divisions between her homeland and the Arab world. Below she shares insights from her week in Jordan, including her thoughts on the significance of cinema as a universal tool for storytelling.