To document the Central American “Migrant Caravan” in November 2018, Magnum photographer Jim Goldberg traveled to Mexico and put together a potent mix of Super 8 footage, video, recorded audio, and songs. The result is a short film titled Luna Llena, which shows intimate snippets of life for the 10,000 migrants who fled from the violence and persecution in their countries of origin to seek asylum in the United States. If you’re looking for something to inspire your interest in eye-opening documentary photography, this short film is certainly one to check out.
While known for his ingenious use of image and text, the landmark photographer also demonstrated his prowess for moving pictures in Luna Llena. His choice to shoot the nearly six minute film in gritty Super 8 format imbues a timeless and emotional mood that heightens the plight of the migrants. Mostly coming from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, they braved the journey of over 2,800 miles long, and ended up in temporary camps at the border where they lay waiting for either asylum in the US or deportation to their home countries.
Upon seeing what these individuals and families were going through on the news, Goldberg felt he had to do something. Backed by Magnum and prompted by his previous experience from working with refugees, immigrants, and trafficked individuals, he integrated himself within the caravan to put together an emotive montage of their multi-dimensional quest for a better life.
“Last fall as I was reading and watching the news, I was horrified to witness how my country was portraying these individuals and families seeking asylum. With my experience from Open See working with refugees, immigrants, and trafficked individuals, I knew I had to do something. With Magnum’s support, I flew to Mexico City and embedded myself within the migrant caravan as it traveled towards the U.S. border. It was a time of great movement, emotion, and hope for a better life. It felt right to shoot film, video, and still imagery for this work, as the mixing of these mediums more accurately describes the momentum of this multi-dimensional journey. The overlaid audio further amplifies the feelings of chaos, motion, and community as people pray, parents sing lullabies to their children, and the truck engines rumble throughout.”
Watch Luna Llena below:
Don’t forget to check out Jim Goldberg’s feature on the Magnum website to find out more and see some of the stills he took while making Luna Llena.
Screenshot image from the video