Senorita Extraviada: Missing Young Woman
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A Documentary by Lourdes Portillo
This is a very interesting movie that narrates an ordeal of more than 350 women who were kidnapped, gang raped and murdered at Juarez in Mexico. This is a reflective, even poetic story that authoritatively reveals a porous judicial system that had to be investigated years later to know the root causes of such atrocities. Why did the brutal murders happen right under the watch of the government and security forces? It is especially bad to know that the government did not do anything to salvage the situation. This story is a compelling one, even emotional. The first time I watched it, I was moved to tears to see the innocence of these women taken as they were helplessly raped, and murdered.
This story adds another ugly mark, after drug menace, for the Mexican authorities. The brutal murders of these women sojourning just in next to the Mexico-US border depicts the porosity of the borders, and the sheer neglect of the border authorities to protect its citizens, especially the vulnerable women and children. This documentary traces a two-year quest to unearth the truth; to find out what really went wrong. Who slept on their job? Juarez is a high profile market ad an international trade center. One then wonders: why could these bloody rapes and killings be meted out on these innocent women? Despite the ordeals in the movie, the author brings out their message articulately and investigatively.
Set in the Mexico-US border, the plot of the story is evil in the society. The author’s choice of characters achieves the aim to reveal it. The women underwent massive psychological and physical torture, rape and deaths at the hands of their captors. This was a gross abuse of human rights that is exposed to the world in this captivating documentary. This is the darkest moment in the history of the Mexican and border women who had to pay the price of careless governance and poor security measures.
This documentary by Lourdes Portillo comes out as a mystery that is not yet solved but seeks to find more insights into the prior-to untold stories of the kidnapping, sufferings, rapes and murders of close to 400 youth females in Ciudad area of Juarez, Mexico. The inclusion of their families is very thoughtful of the author who wishes to portray the feelings and experiences of the closest members of the family. The bitterness and frown on their faces is testimony to the pain the loss of their loved ones causeed them.
The choice of the sources is brilliant as these are the people who had first hand information about the victims. This is a poor portrayal of the well-to-do urban city of Ciudad Juarez.
A young female’s silhouette takes up the screen; striking piano keys complement crowds of women as they trek along dusty Mexican streets in pairs of slippers. The voice of the filmmaker prompts that the documentary seeks to trace the ghosts of Juarez. A local, Arce, is in tears as she recalls the night she was kidnapped and raped. The kidnaps are characterized by deceits and false promises by strangers mostly in expensive vehicles and purporting to offer help to the victims. The victims were either introduced by friends or were lured with money into accompanying the strangers. Besides the kidnappings and rape, this country is also known for drug sales and other vices.
It is difficult to unravel these scenarios considering that despite so many outcries the killings and the evil deeds like drug sales, sex traffic and gambling are still rampant in this city. The author is, however, able to shed light onto the dark past and the horrendous ordeals that the young women underwent while in custody of their captors.