For director Tatiana Huezo, her debut feature Prayers for the Stolen (Noche de Fuego) was largely a balancing act of telling a coming-of-age story of young girls while also conveying a story of corruption, drugs and human trafficking in the Mexican countryside.
“I think definitely one of the biggest challenges in doing this was in trying to relate the story in a very violent context through the eyes of a child and through the eyes of a little girl who is exposed to brutality as a woman,” Huezo said through an interpreter during the Netflix movie’s panel at Deadline’s Contenders Film: International awards-season event. “I’ve been treading this context of childhood as a mother watching my child growing and discovering so it was really meaningful for me to be able to do this through the eyes of a child.”
Mexico’s International Feature Oscar submission follows three friends as they journey into adolescence in a solitary town nestled in the Mexican mountains. But it’s no typical journey – girls are forced to wear boyish haircuts and have hiding places underground as the rural town suffers the hidden consequences of an unjust drug trafficking war. But while poppy planting has enforced violence, magic and joy still prevail in the worlds of these three girls.
Liberally adapted by Jennifer Clement’s novel of the same name, the Mexican survival drama premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year in the Un Certain Regard section, where it won a special mention. Netflix released it this past week domestically, as well as in Latin America and most of Europe.
Check out the panel video above.
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