Location: Redstone Theater
Dir. Natalia Almada. 2011, 72 min. DCP. In Spanish with English subtitles. At dusk a man drives his truck to a cemetery where the sun’s golden light casts an eerie glow on a vast collection of extravagant mausoleums. These are the tombs where some of Mexico’s notorious drug lords have been laid to rest. It’s not uncommon for shoot-outs to erupt between visitors overnight, and the driver is the watchman of this space. Through the confines of the cemetery, director Natalia Almada reflects on a community besieged by violence at the hands of the cartel. The camera quietly observes people who come to care for the gravesites, mopping tile floors while young children play at their feet, and workers who erect new tombs at an alarming pace. The volume of new construction emphasizes the profound loss of life. Throughout the film, shocking accounts of violence are overheard on radio and television reports that play in the background of these daily scenes. El Velador illuminates the burden of harrowing violence by exploring this place where people exist in its wake.