Cannes Film Festival 2021: La Civile

Cannes Film Festival 2021: La Civile | Review

July 9, 2021


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After a teenage girl (Denisse Azpilcueta) is kidnapped by the cartel in northern Mexico, Cielo (Arcelia Ramirez) launches his own dangerous investigation into his daughter’s disappearance. This Belgian-Romanian-Mexican co-production is based on the real-life case of Miriam Rodríguez Martínez, who was shot dead in her home after uncovering key evidence about the drug traffickers who kidnapped her child. By realistically capturing her exceptional bravery, director Teodora Mihai brings justice to the mother where the justice system has failed.

Discovering that his neighbors are also victims of a series of kidnappings, extortion and intimidation by the cartel, Cielo’s journey is hampered at every turn by an ambivalent system and a hostile ex-husband (Álvaro Guerrero ), leaving her alone to face the paramilitary gangs. – some of whom are just children themselves. She soon finds herself caught in the crossfire of the country’s 15-year war on drugs. With military tactics as brutal as those employed by traffickers, the violence leaves scars that go beyond physical harm.

Ramirez’s performance as a woman with nothing to lose is incredible, and the director’s documentary eye keeps her at the heart of the story and avoids veering too Sicario– machismo style. It’s not the flippancy “shoot first, ask questions later” of Taken Where Rambo: last blood but a much tougher approach that emphasizes the reality of the situation and makes authentic use of place, time and environment. Not a musical note is heard until the end credits and the only exposition is glimpsed through the doors or sputtered between strokes.

The Civil is a thought-provoking and truthful thriller whose devastating case is one of many in a society ravaged by drug wars. When Cielo sees a decapitated girl who is not his daughter, his relief is cut off by the fact that she is someone else’s.

Dan Meier

The Civil does not yet have a UK release date.

Read more reviews of our Cannes Film Festival 2021 coverage here.

For more information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.

Watch the trailer for The Civil here:

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