Lourdes Portillo, Kyle Kibbe, Vivien Hillgrove, Jose Araujo, Todd Boekelheide, Gemma Cubero del Barrio
Marina Flores, 1990, Norma Aguilar, 1991, Maria del Rosario Gomez, 1993, Olgo Carrilo, 1995...
These are the names of young women, many working in the maquiladoras -- assembly plants that line the Mexican American border near Ciudad Juarez. All slender, dark-skinned, and long-haired, they begin to disappear in 1990. Victims of brutal rapes, there bodies, somtimes just skeletons surrounded by remnants of clothing, are discovered months and years later in the nearby desert.
This gripping, investigative documentary by Academy Award nominee Lourdes Portillo (Las Madres: The Mother of Plaza de Mayo) is not only a tour de force of criminal investigation, social commentary, and political criticism, but also a masterful work of cinema, both for its sensitive visual poetry and poignant musical score. As the film progresses, we see apparent hope. Sharif Sharif, an Egyptian, is accused by a young woman who has escaped abduction. But after his arrest, the disappearances continue. Other accusations are made: the Rebels gang, police, drug traffickers, bus drivers who travel from the maquiladoras to the city, a lone American who crosses the border in search of his prey. A special prosecutor, Suly Ponce, is appointed, but the only forward motion is an absurd accusation that Sharif Sharif is directing further abductions from his cell. Official incompetence and corruption in epic proportions are set against the coutage, honesty, and iniative of relatives, who, with no alternatives left, organize their own investigative and political group -- Voices without an Echo.
...Maria Isabel Nava Vazquez, 2000, Maria Elena Chavez, 2000... Eight more young women have disappeared since the film was finished. Still no leads. Still no effective official action. Only voices without an echo.