In a new series, Alborada curates a selection of socially-conscious and radical short films focused on a specific Latin American country, all of which are freely available and can be watched here.

This new series focuses on short films from different Latin American countries to present a broad picture of the people, movements and struggles, past and present, that define each one. Our first stop is Mexico.

(Please feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section below.)

1) Connected Walls (Valeria Fernandez and Fidel Enriquez)

Nogales is, officially, two cities but in effect is one urban sprawl straddling the Mexico-US border. Locals do not refer to a border but rather ‘the line’. In addition to physical space, Teresa and Faith transcend social and cultural divides as well. As Faith describes her time on construction sites, being one woman among 700 men: ‘although I’ve not emigrated from one country to another, I’ve emigrated from one gender to an experience that is similar’.

2) We are Equal: Zapatista Women Speak (Chiapas Media Project / Promedios)

In this self-produced film, Zapatista women address historic patriarchy within their societies and how their liberation is a core tenet of zapatismo. There is still some way to go, however, as women perform the brunt of domestic labour while at the same time promoting socio-political education in the community. Another film in the project looks at issues of land ownership and sovereignty.

3) Luchadora (River Finlay)

Lucha Libre – Mexican wrestling – is second only to football in national sporting popularity stakes. The choreographed action is only one element to the sheer spectacle of the fights, as extravagant characters pummel one another around the ring. But for Angeles Aranda, aka Luna Mágica, one of the few women wrestlers, Lucha Libre provides escape from the challenges of low-paid single motherhood and a shot at the world title.

4) Muxes (Iván Olita)

Indigenous Zapotec communities around the town of of Juchitán in Oaxaca state are home to the self-named ‘Muxes’, non-binary people born as male who, after a long struggle, are accepted and even celebrated by their neighbours. Muxes define themselves as neither men nor women: ‘we are considered a third genre even though we take on a feminine role’. The film is very stylishly shot.

5) They Took Them Alive (Emily Pederson)

Even amid the seemingly limitless depths of horror generated by Mexico’s drugs wars, the case of the disappeared 43 Ayotzinapa students was shocking. More than four years after the young men were detained by soldiers and never seen again, the families’ struggle for justice continues to run up against state institutions, including corrupt and murderous security forces, that are determined to prevent the truth from ever coming out.

6) The Stories of Women Incarcerated for Drug Offenses (Washington Office on Latin America & Equis: Justicia para las Mujeres)

The War on Drugs not only targets the poor, it punishes a disproportionate number of women. As poverty leaves people with little option other than to do what they can to survive, young women are receiving heavy sentences for relatively minor offences. Full prisons allows the government to point to success in combatting the cartels, but those paying the price are at the very lowest rung of the ladder.