Documentaries can serve as many things but one of their most important roles is that of providing testimony. Not every atrocity can be captured on camera. There are many different ways to hold the guilty to rights but there’s not always the chance for justice, and all too often the victims do not get a voice at all. In Everardo González’s new documentary Devil’s Freedom, he puts the victims front and centre, giving them the opportunity to tell their stories.
Much of Mexico is a lawless country. Where drugs cartels thrive and the police and the military are paid to either turn a blind eye or give them a hand. Disappearance, rape, tortures and murder have become commonplace and many live in perpetual fear. Poverty is rife and often crime is considered the only way to make a living. Children are preyed upon by gangs, brainwashed and coerced into all manner of brutality. Families are wrenched apart. Children are orphaned.
Using first hand accounts from the victims and perpetrators of these crimes, Devil’s Freedom paints a portrait of a country which has lost its soul. In order to get these testimonies, González uses an ingenious, yet simple, device. Each witness wears a flesh-coloured masks. This serves to blur the lines between guilt and innocence and renders them expressionless; allowing their words to tell the story of a broken society. Devil’s Freedom is a powerful and disturbing film which will stay with you long after the credits.
Devil’s Freedom screens at Bertha DocHouse from 6th April.