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City of Dreams: The Disappearing Women of Juarez

Distributed by Filmakers Library, 124 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10016; 212-808-4980
Produced by Euros Productions
Directed by Gianfronco Norelli
VHS, color, 44 min.

Reviewed by Elise Vidal, Thomas Branigan Library, Las Cruces, NM

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   

In Juarez, Mexico, a city of over 1.2 million people, an unprecedented 250 young women have been murdered since 1993. Their raped and mutilated bodies, dumped into the Chihuahua desert, were left for happenstance discovery. These murders are only now beginning to gain the investigative attention they warrant. City of Dreams: the Missing Women of Juarez formulates the questions and presents the differing viewpoints on what is happening in the Cuidad de Juarez: Who is committing these murders and why? Why have the authorities been so helpless in solving these crimes and bringing their perpetrators to justice? Opinions on these questions and more vary greatly. Social issues such as police corruption, social change vs. traditional values and the very nature of Juarez as a frontier town with its continuous ebb and flow of migration take center stage.

City of Dreams does not presume to answer these questions; it simply reports the questions and viewpoints. In so doing, City of Dreams takes on a journalistic newscast quality but never quite reaches the depth or character of a full documentary. Throughout the City of Dreams there are graphic shots of bodies being removed from the desert. However, these graphic views are not beyond what we see on typical media reportage. The video is in English and sub-titled/dubbed Spanish. Overall, the video is an important work that draws attention to a serious and seemingly unbounded problem - a problem that on scale exceeds a mere domestic issue.