Hot Docs 2021: Our Review of ‘The Spokeswoman’

Hot Docs 2021: Our Review of ‘The Spokeswoman’

Directed by Luciana Kaplan, The Spokeswoman tells the story of Maria DeJesus Patricio (Marichuy), a traditional healer and human rights activist from the Nahua nation in Mexico. Marichuy seeks to garner national attention to the issues of her people and to elevate the status of women. So she became the first Indigenous woman to run for the presidency. Marichuy’s bid for support falls short for her to make the ballot. But she manages to set a standard for progress that has a ripple affect across her beloved home country.

Rather than push for broader storytelling or delving into history, Kaplan recognizes the historical significance of the moment. As a result, she makes the wise decision to keep the camera (mostly) on Marichuy herself. And she bears witness to the impact that Marichuy has on those around her. Filled with passion, Marichuy remains totally committed to see change though.

Despite the obstacles that she faces, Marichuy is relentless in her pursuit to see the Indigenous people properly acknowledged. Her desire is not merely a passing interest but rather the fire that drives her mission. The wheels of bureaucracy are often far too slow. So Marichuy takes it upon herself to travel from town to town in an effort to show the people of their need for change. As a result, her efforts ignite a spark that begins to burn throughout the larger community and the cries for things to be different grow louder.

Inspiring and powerful, The Spokeswoman is a call for justice for the many voices that have been silenced by toxic powers of government. However, even though she manages to make waves on her journey for change and equality, Marichuy’s story also reveals that there is still a long way to go.

This post was written by
Born at a very early age, Steve is a Toronto-based writer and podcaster who loves to listen to what matters to our culture on screen. When he first saw Indiana Jones steal the cross of Coronado, he knew his world would never be the same and, since then, he’s found more and more excuses to digest what’s in front of him onscreen. Also, having worked as a youth and community minister for almost 20 years, he learned that stories help everyone engage the world around them. He’s a proud hubby, father (x2) and believes that Citizen Kane, Batman Forever (yes, the Kilmer one), and The Social Network belong in the same conversation. You can hear his ramblings on ScreenFish Radio wherever podcasts are gettable or at his website, ScreenFish.net.
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