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Maria Elena is a Raramuri, indigenous to Mexico, and quite traditional in lifestyle. The film documents the challenges Maria Elena faces resulting from her grief and search for a fair resolution, the corrupt official justice system, the racism toward the Raramuri, and the suspicion felt by her own community in relation to the death of her son.
I found this film difficult to review, and more difficult to recommend. Instead of underscoring the tragedy and frustration of the situation, these artistic pauses seem to draw out the story more than necessary. Ultimately, the flow of the film toward the final resolution is quite revitalizing.
The subtitles at least on the review copy were occasionally problematic. They were not always timed properly. In a couple of cases they advanced too quickly to read. Occasionally quite a bit of dialogue would take place before any subtitles appeared. It was also sometimes difficult to have a clear understanding of the identity and relationships of the people being interviewed.
With the exception of the subtitles, the production values are very high. While the film would work well as a case study to be examined in upper level cultural anthropology or related courses, I think the only other primary audience for the film would be extremely serious documentary viewers.
It is very difficult as a reviewer to be critical of a work that is both moving and eye opening in a cultural studies sense. However, I feel this program can only be recommended to the audiences mentioned above. Educational Media Reviews Online your connection to quality open access reviews Menu about submit materials recent reviews.