The people of Juárez Valley on the Mexico-Texas border face two enemies: the drug cartels and the federal forces supposedly fighting them. Looking for safety in the United States, they are treated like criminals themselves. Captured in mesmerizingly beautiful cinematography.
What if there’s no discernible distinction between organised crime and the state powers fighting them? For the people of Juárez in Mexico’s Chihuahua state, this situation became their reality when in 2008 federal forces were sent to the region to fight the drug cartels. Instead of protecting them, the federal army violently repressed the local population.
In The Guardian of Memory by director Marcela Arteaga, the inhabitants of Juárez recount their stories – tales of extortion, kidnappings and murdered children, friends and relatives. Like Rosy, who in gripping detail tells of the search for her two sons who were taken by the police. Carlos Spector, an impassioned immigration lawyer, explains why the people fleeing this violence must be treated as fleeing a genocide. The film contains many beautiful shots of abandoned homes and the incredible Chihuahua landscape.