Paulina

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

A breathtakingly beautiful, deeply disturbing story of one woman's remarkable ability to transcend the effects of casual brutality, told by middle-aged housekeeper Paulina Cruz Suarez. Born into poverty in the remote Mexican village of Puntilla, still run in the 1950s like a feudal fifedom by the local cacique, Paulina's childhood was shattered by an accident:...read more

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A breathtakingly beautiful, deeply disturbing story of one woman's remarkable ability to transcend the effects of casual brutality, told by middle-aged housekeeper Paulina Cruz Suarez. Born into poverty in the remote Mexican village of Puntilla,

still run in the 1950s like a feudal fifedom by the local cacique, Paulina's childhood was shattered by an accident: While bathing in a metal washtub, eight-year-old Paulina slipped and fell, injuring her private parts. As Paulina tells it, her parents, apparently hoping to gain influence

over cacique Don Mauro de la Cruz (whose roving eye had already come to rest on Paulina) accused him of rape. Rather than denying the charge, he agreed to wait until Paulina was older, then make her his mistress; he also granted the family some coveted land rights. Shunned by her family and

neighbors as prematurely sexually experienced, Paulina became Don Mauro's mistress at age 14. But the fiercely determined teenager defied him and fled to make a new life in Mexico City. It's a story worthy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Paulina tells it with an unselfconscious poetry of which any

novelist would be proud. Filmmaker Vicky Funari returned with Paulina (who worked for Funari's family when she was a child) to Puntilla, where her divorced parents and brother, various neighbors, and the late Don Mauro's two common-law wives all tell their own versions -- some subtly different,

some radically so -- of Paulina's story. In addition to interviews, Funari uses haunting recreations to bring pivotal recollections to life, and to illustrate Paulina's dream-like memories of hiding in the town cemetery, imagining a looking-glass world beneath a small stream, and talking with

Death himself while giving birth to her daughter. This is a remarkable documentary, seductive, surprisingly funny and a tribute to Paulina's indomitable spirit.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A breathtakingly beautiful, deeply disturbing story of one woman's remarkable ability to transcend the effects of casual brutality, told by middle-aged housekeeper Paulina Cruz Suarez. Born into poverty in the remote Mexican village of Puntilla, still run… (more)

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