En el Séptimo Día/On the Seventh Day

When the choice is between working on Sunday or losing your job by playing in the finals of a soccer tournament.

Lena Dunham’s depiction of Brooklyn in Girls is inversely related to the borough we see in Jim McKay’s En el Séptimo Día. The 20-something characters in her world accessed office buildings, coffee shops, and clubs through the front door. José (Fernando Cardona) on the other hand — along with the dozen other Mexican immigrants he shares a one-bedroom apartment with — uses the back entrance. He and his friends work behind the scenes as busboys, as food-delivery guys, or on construction sites.

On Sundays, though, they play soccer together. When the camera scans the field at one of their matches, we witness their joy and sense of freedom as they kick the ball around. McKay shapes the film episodically. Over the course of a few ordinary days, José must choose between working on Sunday or risk losing his job by playing in the finals of a soccer tournament. He doesn’t want to let his teammates down, but he also wants to bring his pregnant girlfriend to the States. The director calmly asserts the reality of life on the margins without descending into melodrama or tragedy. Instead, the film leaves us with hopeful images, like the one of José riding a bicycle in the rain, his jacket sleeves puffing up and carrying him forward on transparent, sky-blue wings.

Not rated. 
Opens Friday at the Roxie.

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