Santiago Esteinou makes a portrait of discrimination – El Sol de México

The book “Burn to Run”, by Christopher McDougall, tells how a woman lived deprived of her freedom for 12 years in Kansas. Hungry and dirty, they found her inside a church, and she was sent to a psychiatric hospital diagnosed with schizophrenia, not understanding what she was saying, since she spoke her native language.

This story moved the director Santiago Esteinou, who through his documentary “The Woman of Stars and Mountains” takes up the case of the woman named Rita Patiño, who after her release from the psychiatric hospital, was deported to Chihuahua, along with her niece Juana. , to show that, unfortunately, discrimination remains.

“The film talks about multiple forms of discrimination and exclusion that women like Rita face. This does not just remain in the past but rather history repeats itself. Linguistic discrimination continues to be present in Mexico. This should change and if we can make visible this problem through our documentary, we feel satisfied,” said the director in an interview with The Sun of Mexico.

“Rita was an indigenous woman, a woman who did not speak English or Spanish, she was a woman who probably had a disability and a migrant, and when scenarios of so many forms of vulnerability occur, what results are conditions that often do not have a easy answer and it seems to me that the story has many points because it is not just that he has been in a psychiatric hospital, the film talks about violence against women, exclusion and the rights of disabled people,” he added.

However, the story took a complete turn when Rita passed away in 2018. The production of the documentary by Esteinou and producer José Miguel Díaz began two years earlier, but the course changed.

“The approach was observational, we were interested in the care relationship between Rita and her niece. We had not filmed enough with her when she passed away, so we had to rethink it, our question was how to move forward with the project without the protagonist,” said the filmmaker.

This was achieved thanks to the performance of Ángeles Cruz, who played Rita as a young woman. To recreate each of his stages, the director had access to different documents, both legal and personal; The work was complemented with interviews from family and friends who had contact with Rita and who managed to give her a much broader vision of her life, describing her as a woman with a strong, rebellious, transgressive temperament.

“The entire investigation of the project is well documented, we received copies of the judicial files of the case in four different courts, there were more than 400 documents that I reviewed and with that we were able to reconstruct what happened in Kansas and Rita’s compensation upon her return to Mexico . She is well supported and the part that had to do with what Rita’s life was like before Kansas we delve into with the people who knew her,” explained the director.

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Rita was never able to see the trailer for the documentary, but, according to her niece, the project is true to her life. Approval from the indigenous authorities was requested for filming.

The documentary will premiere on April 25 in cultural circuit cinemas.

On the other hand, Esteinou plans to release his new film next year, which will be a continuation of his project “Los años de Fierro” (2013). In this one he will explore the story of how a person who has just left prison adapts to social life.

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