Film chronicles woman’s search for identity after Mexico’s ‘dirty war’


This week saw the cinema premiere here in Mexico of a film documenting the real-life story of Aleida Gallangos Vargas, the child of political activists who disappeared during the country’s "dirty war."

"Trazando Aleida" (the translation is "Tracing Aleida") is a documentary by German filmmaker Christiane Burkhard about Gallangos’ search for her brother, from whom she was separated after her parents disappeared in 1975.

The film was part of this year’s Ambulante documentary film festival as well as the Guadalajara International Film Festival.

Gallangos’ brother, who was born Lucio Antonio Gallangos but who now goes by the name of Juan Carlos Hernández, was the first person found alive out of what are believed to be hundreds who went missing during the "dirty war" in Mexico during the 1960s and 1970s. You can read a 2005 New York Times interview with Gallangos and her brother here.

Director Burkhard says in an interview with the News (an English-language newspaper in Mexico) that she wanted to make a film about Gallangos’ eventually fruitful search because so little attention had been paid to the disappeared in Mexico in comparison with other Latin American nations, such as Argentina and Chile.

You can watch the trailer above.

"Trazando Aleida" is on DVD release for the non-theatrical market in the U.S. and is distributed by Icarus Films.

— Deborah Bonello in Mexico City for La Plaza