Children of the Exodus [Los Niños del Éxodo]: Invisible Victims of the Drug War 2019
Distributed by epf media, 324 S. Beverly Drive, PMB 437, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; 310-839-1500
Produced by Tita Lombardo
Directed by Wilma Gomez Luengo
Streaming, 84 mins
Middle School - General Adult
Children; Mexico; Human Rights; Refugees
Date Entered: 03/17/2022Reviewed by Michael Pasqualoni, Librarian for Public Communications, Syracuse University Libraries
In Los Niños del Éxodo [Children of the Exodus] from director Wilma Gomez Luengo, one would be hard pressed to discover a more moving child’s eye perspective on the difficulties and determined endurance of families displaced because of violence linked to the drug trade or other military or extra-military conflict. Using a combination of voyeuristic days in the life perspectives and direct visual and audio address to viewers, we meet a set of children and their parents in refugee housing in the Caliente region of southern Mexico. The difficulties faced, and resilience of average citizens, is also on display through animation of the artwork the children draw. In these poignant crayon rendered images are themes about victims of corruption, organized crime and war. The child perspectives on the horrors are documentary in form, as well as visual commentaries on a broader divorce from the natural world that the young people observe up close. The cartoons carry implications for roots of individual and state sponsored violence, as the children interpret this while in flight from their villages. Some themes are similar to what one sees Terrence Malick explore in a fictional cinematic context for warfare’s impacts on soldiers, with his feature film, The Thin Red Line (“What’s this war in the heart of nature, why does nature vie with itself?”).
Los Ninos Del Éxodo employs a highly accessible, feeling heart approach, as the children and adults interpret the difficulties surrounding them and live and laugh in spite of apparent dangers and difficult detours. It is not a studied analytical probe of a scholar (the film is refreshing for its lack of intercut expert talking heads offering academic summations), nor a contrast of any lies of institutional leaders delivering government pronouncements. It is the window’s glimpse into the average daily experience of farmers and their kids, uprooted by the greed and extortion viral in a global society far removed from its humane roots. A society still fumbling through a sometimes bloody process of figuring out the purposes of fire. This documentary film is highly recommended and offers appeal to those whose research explores migration, refugees, or Mexican studies, and may resonate with those who delve into issues of children and crime, families and urban or rural violence, precarious housing, or art therapy.
Awards: Official Selection at: FICiP International Festival of Political Cinema, Argentina; DOCS MX, Mexico City, Mexico; American Documentary and Animation Film Festival, U.S.; Cinema Planeta International Film and Environment Festival of Mexico; Muestra Internacional de Mujeres en el Cine y la TV EN MÉXICO
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