GFF Review: La Civil

A mother takes on the gangs

Mexico has many social, economic and political problems but one of the most pernicious and devastating is that of kidnappings. It has been an ongoing problem, but one which has increased markedly since the start of the century. Criminal gangs began abducting in greater numbers to raise funds through ransoms, but many victims are never reunited with their families. Used, to make a profit in other ways, including sex trafficking and drug production. La Civil follows one mother’s determined fight to find her daughter.

When her daughter disappears, Cielo (Arcelia Ramìrez) fears the worst. This comes to pass when she’s contacted by a gang demanding a ransom or she’ll never see her again. With no money to her name, the only hope is her estranged husband (Álvaro Guerrero) and absent father who spends all his money on his new flame. When the police and military refuse to help, Cielo is forced to take matter into her own hands.

La Civil is a powerful drama about one mother’s desperate quest to save her daughter. This takes over her life and there is nothing Cielo won’t do if there’s even the slightest chance of success. Along the way, she encounters several issues and obstacles that many families face on a daily basis across Mexico. This is the great strength of Teodora Mihai’s film. La Civil is one tragic story amongst many, epitomising the heartbreak and trauma which stains the country red.

La Civil screens at Glasgow Film Festival and is released on digital platforms in the UK on 14 March.

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