Tempestad poster

Tempestad documentary poster

As I was watching Tatania Huezo’s documentary Tempestad, a short sequence particularly stroked me, summarizing this film in just a few seconds: It’s raining and some policemen dressed in ponchos are checking cars. Their faces are hidden under their hoodies which make them look like ghostly – almost reaper-like – figures symbolizing death and fear which are commonly associated with corrupt Mexican forces.

Using 2 women’s harrowing stories told in parallel, Ms. Huezo creates a powerful haunting narrative work transcended by stunning visuals.

We first get to meet Miriam, a young mother who was accused without proof of human trafficking and sent to a cartel-managed prison. We never get to see her but her narration is supported by images from her journey back home across Mexico after being released. By doing this, the filmmaker wanted to emphasize that this could have happened to anybody and, even if you don’t know this, it works, as several times I found myself thinking that any woman seen onscreen could be Miriam. The process also allows us to experience Mexico’s beautiful scenery and life while providing an emotional cushion as we listen to all the horrors she had to endure in jail.

The second part is about Adela, a circus clown filled with sadness. Her daughter was kidnapped 10 years before and she stills tries to locate her despite receiving death threats from corrupt cops involved in her disappearance. Once again, by showing Adela in her everyday life preparing for shows, Ms. Huezo is able to soften her work, making this story less painful for the audience. While we do witness Adela and her nieces going from laughs to cries in one sequence, I particularly enjoyed the filmmaker’s subdued tones, rather than going for easy melodrama. I also think that adding beautiful images to these cruel stories actually reinforced their message rather than showing grief which would have been voyeuristic.

Fear of death and the unknown is this documentary’s central theme while corruption, injustice and crimes are recurring elements through both stories, reflecting what’s happening in most parts of Mexico.

An elegant but heavy work, Tempestad also offers some light through the darkness, underlining Miriam and Adela’s perseverance to show us that there is always hope when you don’t give up.

Director: Tatania Huezo – Running Time: 1:45 – Year: 2016 – Country: Mexico
Click here to watch the Tempestad trailer
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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.
Fred Thom

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