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  • The film is based in a true-life story; nasty and ugly as possible, since it involves a ring of child and women prostitution in which some middle-rank politicians and police bosses in mid-cities in Central Mexico (El Bajío) were involved from the early 50's to the early 70's.

    The film keeps almost always a closed, dark atmosphere, which can be suffocating, but reflecting accurately the kind of life the girls in this ring were living as forced prostitutes.

    The film has several twists; one of the most interesting is the fact that the ring was headed by two women (Las Poquianchis) who presented themselves publicly not as the regular brothel happy-go-lucky "madame", challenging the status quo, but as faithful Catholics. Another key twist is, of course, that of the involvement of the local authorities in the cities where Las Poquianchis operated their ring.

    Overall, it is a very good under-rated and under-appreciated Mexican movie.
  • I've seen "Las Poquianchis" in Spanish without subtitles. I speak Portuguese so I can only understand Spanish when it's spoken slowly, so I couldn't follow everything that happens in the film. Anyway I've understood the story in its basic lines.

    "Las Poquianchis" tells the story of the girls who were taken from their families under false promises and sent to the Poquianchis brothel. On arriving there, the girls were virtually kept as prisoners and forced to work as prostitutes - they were mistreated and sometimes even killed. Government officials took part in this scheme and took their share of the profits. A government investigation discloses the activities of the Poquianchis brothel and terrible crimes are discovered - the corpse of a girl killed is unburied and many other revelations will follow. A web of horror is uncovered to the public and it's revealed that the pillars of society (government officials and the local respectable citizens) took part in it. The girls themselves accepted after a while their "fate" and some of them after reaching a higher position didn't hesitate in using their power to crush the other ones - the Poquianchis brothel was directed by women who once had also been kidnapped, forced to work as prostitutes and mistreated. These ones and all the others who helped them in some way are to be be tried by the tribunal. What may be disquieting for some of you is that the film doesn't show us who are the bad people. "Bad" is not located in a definite place and neither can be traced to someone or some organization. Who bears the guilt of everything? The managers of the Poquianchis brothel? The government? No, not so easy! Even the media that uncovers the case does it not for idealism - they see in the Poquianchis the golden chance to sell more newspapers etc..

    Alongside the Poquianchis story, the film tells us a parallel story filmed in black & white that follows the father whose two girls were taken to the Poquianchis brothel. He and other small farmers are fighting legally for their own land, but they are fighting against a bigger enemy. Their fight is hopeless - corruption will stall them and deaths will ensue. As for the government officials, they are just cogs of a great wheel – but who really runs the machine? The government or human greed? It's not easy to answer this question, because government is an abstract word. There are hundreds of thousands of people, or more, contained by this word government – but be it the government officials, be it the others – all or them are fighting for their own interests ("legitimate" or not). Some fight for bare survival, for their land, some for more money, for their position. The girls who provoked the wrath of the Poquianchis managers suffered a beating (so severe that it sometimes led to death), administered by their own companions in suffering, acting under the orders of their superiors (who had once been themselves victims of the same system). A vicious circle. That's the way society works.

    "Las Poquianchis" is a political film, but a political film in the greater sense of the word, that is, a political film bearing a capital P. It is not like those films made by Costa-Gavras that offer us an "objective" cold analysis of some socio-political subject. "Las Poquianchis" is like a punch in the gut – the film is not cold, but, on the other hand, it is neither sentimental nor a tear-jerker. It is raw and emotional (but not in the usual way). This is not your typical Mexican melodrama (even if I like some of them). It's a powerful film. I will try to see some other Cazals's films. Maybe "Canoa".
  • Seriously, I'm 21 now and I still get the chills. I cannot sit through this movie, i have to walk around and take breaks. thats how bad. But I still recommend this movie, because it shows what people were desperate. but as my understanding robbing of the girls were discussed as the people who wanted to led the daughters into a convent in exchange for money to keep up their land. Basically This was scandalous and thank god that I don't live in a time where money is tight.

    WARNING. It does contain graphic language and Violence and Scenes

    but this movie is good, worth watching, never let someone under 16 watch because they will get nightmares. This movie is available on DVD and I bought mines on Ebay.
  • I watched this when I was way too young. I was in elementary school. The fact that some of these parents sold their daughters into this slavery/prostitution ring makes it that much more horrible. Much of the merit in the film making is that the acting is not very stylized. That makes it seem much more real. It seems to me that Mexican cinema during the 1970s was fertile ground for films that showed the darker side of Mexican society. A trend that seems to have returned again to haunt us, as every Mexican film makter seems to only want to show the troubled side of Mexican life. I place this movie in the category of movies that bother me, but that I'd still recommend for viewing. I was also born in Leon, Gto, very close to where the Poquianchis were based.