La Bestia – Train of the Unknowns

  • Manuel Inacker
  • Germany
  • 2018
  • 24 min
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To get to the United States, a lot of migrants from Central America jump on a freight train known as La Bestia, or “The Beast.” This well-balanced student film was made entirely at the migrants’ stopover Casa del Migrante, in the Mexican town of Huehuetoca. Casa del Migrante provides a temporary safe haven for the migrants to rest on their journey. A slogan on the wall reads “No wall can hold back dreams,” and there’s also a priest to offer comfort and encouragement. When the time comes for the migrants to leave the accommodation, there’s no turning back.

Director Manuel Inacker avoids any sentimentality or political statement, and just listens to their stories. One of the young men was shot at by the maras, the gangs operating in Central America, and is now fleeing for safety. The tense and dramatic final scene, in which two men try to jump on the train, illustrates the grim reality of twenty-year-olds who will risk their lives for a better future. Sadly, most will never reach their dream destination.


  • 24 min
  • color
  • DCP
Manuel Inacker
Karla Stöhr / Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, Nicole Jatta for Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf
Falco Seliger
Laura Espinel
Sebastian Sánchez
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IDFA history

International Premiere

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IDFA history