Ángeles Cruz’s Nudo Mixteco is an honest and compassionate portrait of a Mixtec community in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Detailing three interconnected tales of economic migrants returning home, Cruz lays bare the hardships the community faces. María is met with a frosty reception when she returns from the city for her mother’s funeral, her homosexuality still an issue for her traditional father. Esteban, having spent two more years away than originally intended, returns to find his wife Chabela has taken up with another man. And Toña, a woman who sells handbags but makes most of her money from sexual favours, returns following news her daughter, who lives with Toña’s mother, is becoming increasingly distant.
Over the course of the film, female sexuality, and its role in a patriarchal society, is the central theme, touching on sexual assault, adultery and homosexuality with nuance and delicacy. The central performances are all layered and unerringly human. Though the pacing is slow, the film’s patience allows the audience to soak in all the film’s tricky emotional complexities. Having such hard-hitting themes, the film’s nonchalance does slightly bely its emotional impact but overall this is a solid debut from Cruz that shines a light on a community left behind.
This review was written by Oli Gamble, member of the thatfilmbloguk team, American and Canadian Studies student, and co-host of the thatfilmbloguk podcast.