La Libertad del Diablo (Devil’s Freedom) – dir. Everado González. Reviewed by Caroline Boras.

By Caroline Boras

Everado González’ “Devil’s Freedom” is a documentary about Mexico’s war on drugs. It offers no context, no explanation as to why people are disappearing. It does not say how to fix the problems with the cartels, or stop the disappearances. Instead, González reveals what the cycle of disappearing has done to the people of Mexico: from the perspectives of a woman who lost her two sons, a girl who watched her mother get taken away, and a man who first killed for the cartels when he was 14.

It’s a hard watch.

González’s camera work emphasizes the bleak situation these people face. The film starts with a shot of a body – face down, tied up – on the floor of a forest. A fifteen second shot of a girl standing still, wearing a flesh-colored mask comes before the first interview. All of the transitions are shots of rain or fire or other harsh images.

These images – all minimalistic, all harsh – were incredibly striking, and helped establish a serious and melancholy tone. The cartels have ruined the lives of the interviewees. González’s cinematography parallels the way the interviewees are feeling and in turn makes the documentary all the more compelling.

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