The Guardian of Memory / El guardián de la memoria, the second feature film by Mexican director Marcela Arteaga, will have its U.S. premiere in the official competition at the 2019 edition of the Margaret Mead Film Festival taking place October 17-20 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
A strong and lyrical meditation on Mexico’s failed drug wars and their devastating impact on local communities, fueled by an astonishing cinematography by DP Axel Pedraza, The Guardian of Memory had its world premiere in the international competition at the last edition of the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival in Toronto. It will have its much-anticipated Mexican premiere in the documentary competition at the upcoming Morelia Film Festival at the end of October.
In Arteaga’s powerful documentary, dramatic and quiet landscapes from Mexico’s Juarez Valley are juxtaposed with horrifying but intimately-told tales of mass murder. In 2008, the Mexican government sent an army to the rugged border region with the purported goal of fighting the rampant drug trafficking. As locals from Juarez and Chihuahua tearfully recount the stories of their murdered or disappeared children, parents, and siblings, a Texas-based lawyer argues that asylum seekers from the area must be considered victims of a genocide.
“With striking visual poetry… director Marcela Arteaga bears witness to the violence that has displaced thousands, while examining how governments on both sides of the border have exacerbated the crisis” wrote Variety on the film.
As Mexico’s new federal administration, under the still-young presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has deployed more armed forces throughout the country and has granted them a constitutional role in domestic security—in clear opposition to his electoral promise of withdrawing the military from the streets, The Guardian of Memory serves as a daring and cinematic testament to a dragging humanitarian crisis with no clear end in sight.