Prayers for the Stolen

  • 04 Dec - 10 Dec, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly

Netflix movie Prayers for the Stolen (Noche de Fuego) is director Tatiana Huezo’s first dramatic feature, and she mines territory similar to her well-received 2017 documentary Tempestad, in which she detailed the experiences of two women whose lives were torn apart by Mexico’s powerful drug cartels. Ana (Ana Cristina Ordonez Gonzalez) and her mother Rita (Mayra Batalla) dig a shallow hole with their bare hands, and Ana lies in it to see if she fits. This is where Ana will hide if anyone comes for her. They live in San Miguel in the state of Jalisco, on a steppe near a mountain that’s occasionally rocked with explosions, the work of a quarry. Everyone appears to either work at the quarry or, like Rita, in fields where they slash and milk poppy plants of their sap, which is presumably processed to make heroin. Eight-year-old Ana and her mother live in poverty, stone walls with a rickety roof and cement floor; she lies in bed and watches a large scorpion crawl up the wall. Prayers for the Stolen is a tense drama and coming-of-age story, gripping in its authenticity and the profound artistry of its cinematography.