Tatiana Huezo: Prayers for the stolen (Noche de fuego)

Prayers for the stolen (Noche de fuego), Tatiana Huezo, 110’, Mexico / Germany, ZDF 8.5.2023, OV with English subtitles

The well-known Mexican documentary filmmaker Tatiana Huezo made her first feature film in 2020. In two parts, with five years between them, she tells of the three girls Ana, Paula and Maria growing up amidst the rural population’s fear of the drug cartels on the one hand and the military on the other. The absence of the fathers, who are migrant workers in the USA, makes the women and their daughters all the more vulnerable. “What does it mean to be a woman in a climate of violence? This question is at the heart of the film,” says Huezo. And she finds powerful images for this, such as a child trying to flee the army’s chemical spaying helicopters or mothers cutting off their daughters’ hair to prevent them from being abducted by the narcos.

Tatiana Huezo (*1972) is a Salvadoran-Mexican filmmaker, who became internationally known mainly for her intensive documentary film work. Tempestad (2016) premiered at the Berlinale Forum. She made her first feature film in cooperation with Das kleine Fernsehspiel. Prayers for the Stolen (2022) was screened in Cannes and San Sebastian and became Mexico’s submission for the 2022 Oscars. Her last film The Echo was awarded the Documentary Award and the Encounters Best Director Award at the Berlinale 2023.