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Film Discussion Guide

Download the discussion guide for the documentary El Velador (The Night Watchman) and use it for facilitating conversation about this film at home, in the classroom or at community screenings.

El Velador (The Night Watchman): Discussion Guide

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Martin, the watchman (el velador in Spanish), surveys the cemetery. But this isn’t a typical cemetery. Located in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa, Mexico, the Jardines del Humaya cemetery is home to the extravagant mausoleums of some of Mexico's most notorious drug lords. El Velador (The Night Watchman) allows viewers to accompany Martin as, night after night, he guards the dead.

As an outreach tool, the deliberately paced film provides viewers with an opportunity to contemplate the contrasts: the calm of the cemetery and the violence that created it, the repetition of routine and the extraordinarily quick and wrenching nature of violent death, the simple living conditions of the watchman and the opulent lifestyles of those whose tombs he tends. In the labyrinth of the cemetery, this film about violence without violence reminds us how, in the turmoil of Mexico’s bloodiest conflict since the revolution, ordinary life persists, quietly and defiantly.

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Film Information

El Velador (The Night Watchman) (60 min.)

Premiere Date: September 27, 2012

Streaming Dates: Expired

Photos: Download Here

Trailer: Link | Embed

Filmmaker: Natalia Almada Bio | Interview | Statement

Press: Press Release | Press Release - Spanish | Critical Acclaim

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Natalia Almada
Natalia Almada

Critical Acclaim

An unsettlingly quiet, even lyrical film about a world made and unmade by violence.”

— A.O. Scott, The New York Times

The Mexican drug cartels have inspired countless films, but never one as final as Natalia Almada’s El Velador. After this experience, everything else seems trivial.”

— Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

[A] hypnotically detailed feature documentary depiction of life and death.”

— Bruce Bennett, The Wall Street Journal

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Logo: LPB


With Funding Provided by

Logo: CPB