Monday, November 24, 2014

Angel Cordero - Coming Home

It's all supposed to be hunky dory.  

You're 25 years old.  Convicted, sentenced to prison for attempted murder, a crime you insist you didn't commit.  Spend 13 years locked up.  Then get released.  Now you're 38.  Not exonerated.  Not apologized to.  Just released.  Have a nice life.  And stay out of trouble 'cause you're still on paper and if you don't play by the rules we'll yank you back.

It's all good now.  Oh, sure, someone will have to teach you what a smart phone is - and how to text. But hey, you go back home and have a beer.  Hug the wife you married while in prison.  Life is good.

Of course, it's not that easy.  Not even with a supportive family that understands, that knows, you were railroaded.  Not even then.

Meet Angel Cordero.

Coming Home is the story of his return after 13 years, back to the streets of Brooklyn, back to his family.  And back to his daughter.

Sarah was 3 when Angel was sent away.  She's 16 when he gets out.  He's missed her life.  And she knows it.  More, she resents it.  
Who are you? Leave me alone  I don't need you.  I don't want you.
You're all I thought about.  You're what kept me going.  13 years it was just to get back to you.  I love you!
She goes to Florida.  He breaks parole to go see her there and give her the birthday present he bought for her.

And all the time he's trying to adjust.  He meets Dario Rodriguez, the man who basically framed him. Who confessed - though of course confession by the actual bad guy commonly isn't enough.  As it wasn't here.  

Their meeting is surprisingly gentle, not confrontational.  Two no-longer-young men, sad, tired. Victim and victimizer.  Regrets certainly, but little rancor.  Angel understands.  So, sadly, does Dario.

Coming Home is a documentary.  Angel Cordero's story is real.  It's warm and joyous.

And it's heartbreaking.  

It won Best Irish Feature Documentary and Amnesty International's Best Human Rights Feature Documentary at the Galway Film Fleadh last year and played last week at DOC NYC, the New York Documentary Film Festival.  It's not likely to be playing at your neighborhood multiplex, but if you get a chance, it's worth your time.

My thanks to the promoters for sending me a screener.

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