Short Films in Focus: Laura, Carlton and the Tijuana Bulls | Features


We’ve all known people like Laura and Carlton Moser. We’ve all been subjected to dull family vacation videos. For all there is to know about “Laura, Carlton and the Tijuana Bulls,” there’s no reason to expect something truly compelling. Laura and Carlton are simply nice people. On a vacation to the south of the border, they visit a strip club, Trump’s border wall, a bullfight, and some restaurants. Then, they go home. Their insights on their visit might be particularly profound (Werner Herzog, for instance would have put the weight of the world behind witnessing a bullfight), but we share in their observations and discoveries. Again, this sounds like someone’s vacation video.

And yet, I watched the whole damn thing. 

I loved getting to know Laura and Carlton Moser and eavesdropping on their conversations about being a tourist. Of course, only someone close to them could have gotten such a documentary like this out of them. The film was co-directed by their son, Bobby, and Michael Barth, who present everything in beautifully composed static shots as we hear voiceovers of Laura and Carlton charmingly observing their surroundings. A weird kind of suspense takes hold as we watch them visit the bullfight (will the bull jump into the crowd?) and the border wall (do they support the building of this wall?). We also get a peak into their past as they share a family tragedy that they are still processing.  

I’m glad the Vimeo staff found this film and I’m glad it found me. I’m sure some will view it as “Mexico through a white person’s lens,” but isn’t this how we all talk when we visit a place on vacation? Do we all come away from a place knowing how to articulate like a poet what effect it had on us, if at all? Somehow, “Laura, Carlton and the Tijuana Bulls” achieves a poetry of its own without even trying. Even if my political views might not align with theirs, I feel I could watch a series of Laura and Carlton vacation videos. They’re certainly more compelling than my own.

You can view the original article HERE.

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Short Films in Focus: Laura, Carlton and the Tijuana Bulls | Features
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