Who Is Dayani Cristal?: The Lives and Deaths of Migrants

Dayani Cristal is the only daughter of Honduran Dilcy Yohan Sandres Martinez. As an expression of love Yohan had her name tattooed on his chest in large longhand letters with elaborate flourishes. It was this tattoo—along with his fingerprints—that enabled U.S. government workers to establish the identity of his corpse which was found by border patrol agents in the Arizona desert, 20 minutes outside of Tucson.

685Directed by Marc Silver, and co-produced by Gael Garcia Bernal, Who Is Dayani Cristal? explores the world of migrants from south of the U.S./Mexican border. The film is a much-needed antidote to the mean-spirited, xenophobic, destructive rhetoric which has dominated American media for decades.

These are the people trapped and victimized by the socio-politico-economic miasma between the U.S. and the countries beneath its southern boundaries.

Silver presents this world with three stories: The tragic death of a loving husband and father; the dedicated work of those who seek to identify the many corpses found mostly in Arizona’s desert; and the cross-border odyssey—successful or stillborn—taken by migrants. Silver follows Bernal as he takes this journey.

Silver and Bernal have pulled back the curtain revealing a world of suffering and tragic loss, a world of our making. A world we can unmake.

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