The Immortal

Mercedes Moncada Rodríguez

Nicaragua/Mexico/Spain 2005, 78 minutes.

Mercedes Moncada Rodríguez’s second feature film (she also directed 2003’s The Passion of Maria Elena) re-examines the period of Nicaragua’s Contra war, mostly via long interviews with a family whose boys found themselves on opposite sides of the political divide (the Contras tried to conscript them both when they were teenagers; one of the boys escaped, one didn’t).

On one level this is a fairly straightforward portrait of a small mountain village trying to move beyond its memories of a long national trauma. Moncada Rodriguez’s visual sensibility is relatively uncomplicated, she allows her interview subjects to speak at length about their struggles (sometimes to powerful effect, as one woman talks of how her husband was tortured to death by the Contras), and she leaves the viewer with a good sense of the complexity of this small village, in fine political-impressionist fashion.

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