When cinema is very similar to reality and that reality is cruel and overwhelming, it is not easy to criticize. Much less when this reality is very close, as it happens to me with the movie. The civilian, (2022)set in this Mexico that I love so much, but whose dark side I cannot deny.
The Civilianthe movie I want to talk about this time, follows the story of Dear (Arcelia Ramirez), whose daughter Laura (Alice Lagoa) is kidnapped by a criminal group, who extorts and psychologically tortures Dear in exchange for your daughter’s life.
This film shows the serious problem of the disappeared in Mexico, which today goes beyond the 100,000 (considering that the count started in 1964, although 95% have been registered since 2006) and, above all, the impunity of the authorities that year after year ignore and become part of the problem, since in fact there is only a record of 35 cases that received a sentence.
While there are indications that most of these crimes are the responsibility of organized crime, there are also suspicions of disappearances committed by senior government officials. In the end, it cannot evade its responsibility to enforce the law, investigate and support the location of its citizens.
However, this does not happen, the government does little or nothing and, finally, it has been civil society that has taken on the task of looking for their relatives with their own resources. As it happens in The Civilian directed by Theodora Michael where the protagonist is exemplified by the mothers in search who for years found graves with corpses and revealed clues to find the culprits, assuming the risks and traumas that this search implies.
Technically, it’s nothing to write home about, it’s a movie simple and without much paraphernalia, made of empathy and shared pain and becomes great from his speech, amid controversy and at the limit of what can be shown without putting yourself at risk.
The performance of Arcelia Ramirez who knows how to put on the skin of a mother willing to do anything to see her daughter again. accompanied by Álvaro Guerreiro a misunderstood parent who easily loses hope and patience. s Juan Daniel Garcia Trevino who impersonates and gives a face to a criminal who is rarely known in reality.
all this won The Civilian their participation in Cannes Film Festival 2021he won Value Award in the section A Certain Watering.
Despite its rawness and the delicate subject it addresses, there is no lack of reasons to give it the opportunity to The Civilian to give us this perspective of a problem that is not unique to Mexico, but that is increasingly present in this country and that can teach us a lot not to repeat history over and over again.