During the 1970s, Mexico engaged in a "dirty war" against left-wing dissidents and suspected "subversives," resulting in the arrest and "disappearance" of hundreds of its own citizens. In many instances, the children of the "disappeared" were adopted by other families. Since 2000, long-secret documents about these events have become public, revealing the stories of these missing victims of the "dirty war."
TRACING ALEIDA relates the story of 31-year-old Aleida Gallangos, who discovered her true identity only in 2001, and her 3-year-long efforts to locate her older brother, from whom she was separated at the age of 2 when their parents were arrested by state security forces in 1975. Researching adoption records, Aleida traced her brother, Lucio Antonio, to a Mexican family living in Washington, D.C.
This documentary interweaves Aleida's contemporary efforts to locate and arrange a meeting with her long-lost brother, now known as Juan Carlos Hernandez, with the personal and political history of her parents, including the raid on a guerrilla safe house that resulted in their disappearance and the separation of the two children, and culminates in an emotionally moving reunion, after 29 years, between Aleida and her brother.
TRACING ALEIDA shows that while Aleida and Lucio are learning to reconcile two separate personal and family histories, Mexico itself is engaged in a likewise problematic effort to acknowledge the atrocities committed against its own people and the possibility of indictments against previous government officials responsible for them.
"Seeks to give face, name and voice to one of the hundreds of cases of missing persons in Mexico in the seventies."—La Jornada Jalisco
Best Feature-Length Mexican Documentary, 2008 Morelia Film Festival
Best Mexican Documentary, 2008 Guadalajara International Film Festival
Signis Prize, International Catholic Association for Communications, Tepoztlan Documentary Festival
Honorary Mention, 2008 Encounter Hispanoamericano Independent Documentary Film and Video Festival
2008 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
2008 Acapulco International Film Festival
2008 DOXA Documentary Film Festival
2008 G÷teborg Film Festival, Switzerland
2008 EDOC Festival, Ecuador