MEXICO - La Civil tells the story of Cielo, a mother in search of her daughter, abducted by a criminal cartel in Northern Mexico. As the authorities fail to offer support in the search, Cielo takes matters into her own hands and turns from housewife into avenging activist. The story was inspired by true events.
Cielo begins her own investigation and gains the trust and sympathy of Lamarque, an unconventional army lieutenant working in the region. He agrees to help Cielo in her search, as her research data may also be useful for his operations. Cielo's cooperation with Lamarque draws her further into a vicious circle of violence. The film focuses on Cielo's emotional rollercoaster as she is gradually drawn into ever more intense and dangerous circumstances. The camera stays close, we never lose sight of her as she gradually transforms from a housewife into an avenging activist. As events unfold, Cielo gets closer to the truth: she discovers a mass grave, obtains official DNA analysis, confronts one of the suspected kidnappers, but corruption and apathy keep her from finding a solution. Until the end finally comes, unpredictably and uninvited...
The film was preceded by years of intensive research by the Romanian-Belgian director Teodora Mihai and Mexican writer Habacuc Antonio de Rosario, for which they received a grant of the Pascal Decroos Fund. Originally it was going to be a documentary, but circumstances forced them to turn it into a fictional story.
"When I started following her, documenting her life, it soon proved a way too tricky road for an observational documentary: the region was very unsafe and I felt too censored by the circumstances and the content of the plot, which was managing a good amount of sensitive information. So the decision was taken: we would write a fictional story, inspiring ourselves of two years and a half of valuable research material I had gathered by then.”
In 2017, Miriam Rodriguez, the mother in question, was brutally killed in front of her house.
The film was awarded an Audacity Award at the 2021 Cannes Festival.
Photo: Still from the film La Civil, ©Menuetto
- La Civil, première at the Film Festival of Cannes, 06/07/2021.
- Debuut van Belgisch-Roemeense Teodora Ana Mihai geselecteerd voor filmfestival van Cannes, Radio 1, 06/07/2021.
- In het leven moet je aan je kansen werken, De Standaard, 03/07/2021.
- San Sebastian: Mexico's Pimnienta Films Boards Teodora Ana Mihai's Drug drama 'La Civil', Variety, 19/09/2016
- Teodora Ana Mihai en Jessica Woodworth nemen deel aan TorinoFilmLab, VAF.be, 02/02/2017
- Mexicaanse moeder spoort zelf moordenaars van haar dochter één voor één op - De Morgen, 17/05/2017
- Gunmen Kill Mexican Activist for Parents of Missing Children - The New York TImes, 12/05/2017
- Teodora Ana Mihai on ‘La Civil’ Bowing in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, Variety, 09/07/2021.
- Review: La Civil, Cineuropa, 10/07/2021.
- ‘La Civil’: Cannes Review, ScreenDaily, 29/07/2021.