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MOURNERS. On Development.

80 minutes documentary in three shorts.


This documentary is visual symphony around the concept of tears and death in Mexico.

With a poetic approach it talks about sacred life and its tears, we follow the daily journey of real hired mourners in small towns, as well as their job activities at different types of funerals, combining this with some snaps shots in a grotesque tone of a parallel story that follows fake hired mourners who are taking part in a contest in Mexico on the Day of the Dead, as they work their way toward the final competition in San Juan del Rio to become recognized as the best crier in the state.

Fake Mourners

Hired Mourner

Death has different meanings and connotations to different cultures.


Mexicans relate to it in a very particular way. Some adore it, many people believed is a sacred stage of the life cycle that deserves special treatment and rituals, and others blaspheme about it without guilt.


Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead once a year in November; at the same time, the majority of the population is scared and moved by the level of crime and violence in the country. Death is an important aspect of Mexican life to reflect, by talking about it in the context of the sacred life cycle, this movie will raise awareness about the value of life.


Women have a very important role giving birth, and they have also a big important role giving support and company to the souls of the dead, to help them to transcendent and pass to the next life or after death.  This role, know as a profession, hired mourner is part of a tradition that started in Egypt and then went to Spain, from where it came to Mexico where it mixed in with other local traditions. But throughout time, women were the ones in charge of the rituals to help souls move on and cross the line between life and death by crying and collecting the tears.  It is an activity that is passed from mothers to daughters and, meanwhile it’s disappearing; there are small towns where these women still play important roles in funerals. 


I want to document it before it is too late to remember any of this, and also as a way to hold on to tradition and these important beliefs today to explore Death in the actual Mexican context.

The film uses tears as a thematic visual link to approach these diverse ways of dealing with death.



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