the day of the leon
New york Stories
Carlos E. Leon - Jackson Heights, Queens
Director: Adel Ben Bella
Carlos Leon, a war veteran, has done four tours of duty in Iraq. He left the ghettos of Lima, Peru, to join his Dad in New York City when he was 14. After seeing his father put on his Vietnam war uniform, he knew he wanted to follow in his footsteps. He is now 52, living in Jackson Heights, Queens, with his wife and children. But to him, up to this day, the army comes first.
The film follows Carlos during a single day at the Veteran's Day Parade in New York City where the country now salutes its soldiers with modest praise. At the same time, we flashback to the footage of him as a soldier in Iraq, footage he recorded himself with his little DV camera, vividly and visually illustrating the tension between these two colliding worlds.
As Carlos struggles to find a grounding in this society, something he is not trained for, he continues to battle with the duality of the soldier versus the civilian, to the point where only one may remain. It is that potentially insurmountable gap that 'The Day of the Leon' wishes to address.