Kingdom of Shadows
About IDFA
Kingdom of Shadows
IDFA 2015

Kingdom of Shadows

Bernardo Ruiz
United States, Mexico
73 min
European Premiere
Festival history
According to the latest official figures, over 26,000 people have “disappeared” in Mexico since 2007, though many journalists and activists believe the toll to be much higher. One of them is the 67-year-old nun Consuelo Morales, who takes a firm stand for the families of those killed or made to disappear in the violence of Mexico’s narcotics conflict. She works in Monterrey in Mexico, once one of the safest cities in the world but plagued by extreme violence in the past decade. Consuelo’s story is interwoven into the film with the stories of Oscar Hagelsieb and Don Henry Ford, Jr. The heavily-tattooed Hagelsieb worked undercover in a Mexican cartel and is now a Homeland Security Investigator on the U.S.-Mexico border. Ford, now a farmer in Texas, worked as a drug smuggler at the height of the U.S. “Just Say No” era. Through their stories, we get a disturbing look at the human side of an ongoing crisis, which reveals how the situation has gone from bad to worse. The portraits of the three protagonists are interwoven with others talking about the immense daily impact of the drug war. Most disturbing is an interview in which a member of the ruthless “Zetas” cartel describes the smell of burning bodies. The multiplicity of perspectives creates a kaleidoscopic and layered picture of the U.S.-Mexico drug war.
Screening copy