Posted by paulrivas on:
If you haven't been paying attention to the hundreds upon hundreds of unsolved femicides that have taken place in Juárez, Mexico in the past decade or so, no te preocupes, now's your chance!
All the crucial elements of these murders of Mexican women just across the border from El Paso, Texas are present in this film: indigenous women migrate to the border to work in the maquiladoras (factories made possible by NAFTA), where they labor in what we in sunny Santa Barbara would describe as abhorrent conditions. They're barely allowed to pee, they're paid about $1 an hour and if they get pregnant they lose their jobs. Meanwhile, there are vice lords with Mexi-mullets, serial killers, organ traffickers, pornographic snuff filmmakers and old-fashioned machistas loo king to sexually assault them, kill them and dump their bodies in the desert. If a victim is lucky, someone finds her body and paints a pink cross with her name.
All of this is in the movie, which Rivas Cultural Services associate Patricia Ordaz says Mexicans in Mexico are calling, "muuuuuuy impresionante, real y cruda." There were about 12 Latino faces in the crowd at last night's screening, which is more than you're going to find at any SBIFF event save for the Youth CineMedia project.
There's some great Mexican Spanish in the film, including, "No seas mamón, Hernández," and, "Te voy a quitar lo indio, verás," which comes when an established Lomas de Poleo slum resident styles her recently arrived cousin's waist-length hair into chola bangs. There's also quite a bit of dialog in Tzetzal, a language spoken by some Mayan groups in southeastern Mex.
Lack of resources, corruption and complacency all contribute to the inability of Mexican law enforcement to solve any of these murders, which continue unabated. This systemic failure is summed up by the light-skinned police chief of Juárez, who's only goal is to land a cushy gig in Chihuahua: "Acá las palabras básicas son: no hay, no se puede, y no se pudo."
Go see Backyard on Tuesday at 10pm at the Metro IV.