There’s an interesting desire to use the manner of filmmaking to reenact and process trauma, especially in the documentary space. In 2012, director Joshua Oppenheimer crafted The Act of Killing, a documentary wherein a Khmer Rouge killer re-enacted the murders he participated in. A similar feeling is evoked while watching Rodrigo Reyes’ Sansón and Me, a documentary that explores, through recreating key moments, the life of a young man serving life in prison for murder.
Director Reyes first met Sansón Noe Andrade when he acted as interpreter during the young man’s murder trial. Reyes was captivated by Andrade and, as Andrade spent his life in prison without the possibility of parole, the two started writing letters to each other. Reyes eventually conjured up the idea of a movie, told with Andrade’s family members playing his mother, father, and younger versions of Sansón and his sisters. As Sansón starts to look back on his life, the filmmaker is able to reflect on the cycle of violence and poverty in Mexico.
Kristen Lopez, IndieWire
With this startling and sombre documentary, Mexican film-maker Rodrigo Reyes has conducted an experiment in verbatim cinema, or what you might call witness cinema.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian