Director Natalia Almada takes a fascinating look at contemporary Mexican culture with her documentary The Night Watchman, which screened at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and is making its Houston premiere at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The film focuses on the ordinary existence of a man named Martin who, from sundown to sunup, watches over the grand mausoleums of some of the country’s most infamous drug lords. The cemetery he guards is a quiet, even serene environment where small children play, but through its honest, meditative study of Martin’s seemingly inane occupation, the documentary reveals the violence that underscores the everyday life of its subject. It’s chilling to know that those pretty, pastel-hued edifices that Martin guards are the result of a bloodbath that has consumed an entire nation.
This isn’t the first time the award-winning director has screened a film at MFAH. Her debut film, Al otro lado, was part of the museum’s first Latin Wave Film Festival in 2005. After tonight’s screening, there will be a question-and-answer discussion with Almada via Skype.
Thu., Aug. 2, 7 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 4, 5 p.m., 2012