A look at the border hell of acclaimed Mexican movie: 'Sin señas particulares'
Director Fernanda Valadez makes her debut with a drama about the drug-controlled "Parallel State" and trafficking on the border that has critics excited.
Magdalena has lost "her treasure" somewhere on the U.S.-Mexico border. Under a sun of justice, she searches for her son, but on her way, she comes across another boy who is returning home after being deported and cannot find his mother.
Separated families and disappeared young people in the context of drug cartels and an indifferent government are the ingredients of the debut feature film of Mexican Fernanda Valadez. The story she recreates is not at all dystopian, but rather, rooted in the drama of violence that is being experienced in Mexico today.
It's a country where the death toll is relentless at the moment.
In 2020 alone, 4,960 people have been registered as missing, and most were between 15 and 30 years old, largely due to organized crime. However, the statistics do not show the pain of the stories — they do not have face — which is why films like Sin Señas Particulares (With no particular signs) break the fourth wall and pull us into reality.
However, the films also brings a ray of hope. It's a cinematographic journey to a dusty hell sown with pain that has earned it the applause of critics at some of the most renowned international festivals.
Sin señas particulares has won awards such as the "Audience and Special Jury Award for Best Screenplay" at the Sundance Film Festival; the "Best Film Award" in the 'Horizons' section of the San Sebastian Film Festival and the "Golden Eye for Best International Feature Film" at the Zurich Film Festival.
"You can always ask yourself why we are killing ourselves in Mexico," Valadez told La Vanguardia.
One of the biggest debates that the director and screenwriter Astrid Rondero had to face is whether or not they should get into the causes of who or what is killing the young people, whose only sin — if any — is to try to reach the United States.
For Fernanda Valadez, "the drug trade, the murders of women, the fuel trade, and the disappearances and kidnappings at the hands of immigration traffickers are all interconnected" in a network, she says, that has created a new slavery. Where migrants are an important part of the business, "those who don't carry money or can't get it from their relatives in the north are part of the victims," she says.
But the Mexican film also brings a ray of hope, as it reflects the solidarity that exists among the families of the disappeared and how they organize for power against corrupt institutions.