For the relatives, a long and often unending road to justice. For the relatives, a long and often endless road to justice.

Filmmaker documents stories of victims of violence and impunity

Relatives offer harsh accounts of how unbridled violence has taken sons and daughters, sisters and fathers

The documentary Soles Negros (Dark Suns) by Canadian filmmaker Julien Elie, now being shown in Mexican cinemas, is an attempt to shine a dark light on the pervasive violence driven by unchecked impunity.

The film focuses on the victims of this violence, taking on the topics of femicides in Ciudad Juárez and México state, assassinations of journalists, the forced disappearances of the 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero, the 2011 San Fernando massacre of 72 migrants and the ruthless force of the drug cartels.

“I wanted to make a movie about femicides,” said Elie about his inspiration for the film, “but upon seeing the violence in the whole country . . . it seemed important to me to portray the terror [in all its forms].”

The relatives of the victims of each one of these stories offer harsh accounts of how the country’s unbridled and rising violence has taken from them their sons and daughters, sisters and fathers. The camera focuses on their faces as they recount their journeys on the often endless road to justice and the strength they have to keep going.

“It is, of course, a tough, difficult film, but I also think that there is so much humanity in the people in it. I’m often asked if there’s a kind of hope in the movie and I think that yes, it can be seen in these people, in their eyes, in their struggles,” said Elie.

Impunity is the common denominator in the stories told in Soles Negros. The rebellious voices telling their stories to Elie have lost faith in authorities who constantly fail to give them answers.

The majority of the stories in the film have even been covered heavily in the media, and the names of the guilty parties widely known, yet the perpetrators remain completely free.

“Impunity is the sources of all these cases,” said Elie, “and of the violence in the country.”

In many, the whereabouts of the victims are unknown. Many are disposed of in mass graves, making identification extremely difficult or often impossible.

“There is an incredible number of disappeared persons and mass graves in the country, but I hope that [the film] doesn’t sum the country up as a grave. Mexico is much more than that . . . Mexico has many more things than what we see in the film,” Elie said.

Soles Negros premiered on September 27, and is now being shown in commercial and independent theaters across the country.

Source: Sin Embargo (sp)

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.