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Upcoming Mexican Film ‘La Civil’ Received 8-Minute Standing Ovation At Cannes Film Festival

A new film out of Mexico, La Civil, directed Teodora Mihai, made its big debut this week at the Cannes Film Festival and was received so well by critics and audience members that it received an eight-minute-long standing ovation.

La Civil is based on a true story and follows the tale of a Mexican mother who had her daughter kidnapped – like the thousands of other kidnapping victims – and lives a day by day life full of mourning, grief, anger, and low key optimism that one day she’ll be reunited with her daughter.

La Civil received a standing ovation following its Cannes Film Festival debut.

A film telling the true story of a mother whose daughter was kidnapped by a cartel in northern Mexico received an eight-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday. La Civil is directed by Romanian Teodora Mihai and stars Mexican actors Arcelia Ramírez, who plays the mother, Cielo, and Álvaro Guerrero who plays the father. It focuses on very timely political themes such as femicide, corruption and impunity.

Mihai said she aimed to explain how violence spreads. “When violence touches you, it stains you. You cannot escape from it. Violence makes you a victim but at the same time it forces you to join its vicious cycle.”

In the 140-minute film Cielo follows clues in the search for her daughter Laura’s whereabouts, who was kidnapped by cartel sicarios.

Both actors expressed their hope that the film would bring positive change. “It is very important to be here and that this issue is seen around the world, that it is talked about, that it continues to be made visible,” said Ramírez.

“It is a subject that moves me and touches me deeply. There is so much to do … I hope this helps in some small way,” Álvaro said.

The film is based on true events that are still very much an issue across Mexico.

According to the National Search Commission almost 90,000 people have disappeared since 2006. Identifying bodies — usually discovered in unmarked clandestine graves — was a key campaign pledge of the president.

Kleber Götz, a German critic, explained why he believes the film to be so pertinent. “There are many films about this issue and the problem of kidnappings and drug trafficking in Mexico, but this film has something very important, very intense: it is the gaze of those who remain … they have to settle for bones … which they don’t really know belonged to their loved ones, in order to say goodbye,” he said.

La Civil is up for two awards: that of the most important parallel section in Cannes called Una Cierta Mirada, in which directors such as Michel Franco were able to catapult his career by winning the trophy – he’s also the co-producer of La Civil. And that of the Camera d’Or for directors who present their debut at Cannes.

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