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The Convict Patient

2013 DOK Leipzig, International Programme Documentary Film
Mexico | 2013 | 83 min. | Spanish | English subtitles | European Premiere
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The Convict Patient | El Paciente interno

One of those stories that it would be a reckless understatement to call incredible: during a protest rally in Mexico City on 2 October, 1968, almost 300 people are killed as President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz deploys the armed forces and special units of the presidential guard to re-establish order in the country. Carlos Castañeda de la Fuente witnesses the events as a bystander. But that day was to determine the rest of his life: in a helpless act of outrage one and a half years later, the professed Christian attempts to assassinate Ordaz, but is arrested carrying a weapon before it happens and picked out to be groomed by the secret police as the fanatic mastermind of an attempted coup. When this fails, mainly because of the accused man’s naiveté, he is declared insane and locked away. He is believed to have disappeared. For years he is subjected to massive physical and mental abuse, later he is more or less forgotten. It is not before 1993, after 23 years as a psychiatric patient, that he is helplessly shoved off into “freedom” to eke out a miserable existence as a deranged homeless man in Mexico City. Director Alejandro Solar Luna spent a long time reconstructing the depths of this case: the extinction of a human being over four decades.

Ralph Eue
Original Title: El Paciente interno
Country: Mexico
Year: 2013
Language: Spanish
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 83 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour
Director: Alejandro Solar Luna
Producer: Alejandro Solar Luna, Rodrigo Herrnaz, Issa Guerra, Armando Casas
Cinematographer: Ignacio Miranda
Editor: Ernesto Contreras, Alejandro Solar Luna
Music: Luis Leñero Elu
Script: Alejandro Solar Luna
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The texts to the Documentary Competition films and the International Programme films were written by the members of the selection committee. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.