The German-Mexican co-production, “Buen Día Ramón” (“Good Day, Ramón”) tells the unusual story of a poor young Mexican immigrant named Ramon who emigrates to Germany after having incredibly bad luck in his multiple attempts to emigrate to the US illegally. Desperately in need of finding work to support his mother and provide medicine to his grandmother, he decides, on a friend’s advice, to travel to Germany.
Ramon’s remarkable openness to accept the kindness of strangers and begrudge none of his hardships is rendered believable. Struggling to survive on the street, he sleeps in a train station, and becomes increasingly desperate to earn money to send home. Yet he never builds defenses, remaining optimistic and determined, with an innocent enthusiasm that is, at times, astonishing in its emotional generosity and guilelessness.
On an ordinary day shopping for something to eat, the young Mexican meets Ruth, a lonely senior. Soon, she befriends Ramon and lets him sleep in her apartment basement, even though another tenant disapproves. In one especially poignant scene, Ramon has prepared a Mexican dinner for Ruth and they sit down to enjoy the meal together in her apartment. Ruth gradually reveals secrets she has never told anyone else. In turn, Ramon conveys his deep felt gratitude to her for changing his life. Confiding in each other in German and Spanish, neither understands the other in language but in emotion. Their bond is unbreakable.
I have to admit I am drawn to bicultural co-productions. The layers of complexity in navigating and directing actors with different cultural and linguistic points of view enriches the movie-viewing experience. “Buen Día, Ramón” exemplifies this. The alternating points-of-view are not only character-based but culturally based.
The actors who play Ramon (Kristyan Ferrer) and the German Ruth (Ingeborg Shöner) are understated, with such charm and poignancy that the incredible friendship becomes credible. Ramon’s story is an unexpectedly lyrical tale of perseverance, tenacity, and generosity. “Buen Día, Ramóín” considers how friendship develops despite all sorts of challenges in a deeply affecting manner. This movie is a simple pleasure that no one should miss.
Note: Available on Netflix