Kings of Nowhere | Chicago Reader

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83 minutes · 2015

Visually entrancing but also vague and plodding, this 2015 documentary looks at three families who refuse to leave a partially flooded town in northwestern Mexico. Director Betzabé García makes a strong statement with her surreal shots of the waterlogged ghost town and its eccentric inhabitants, whose Sisyphean routines border on magical realism. But she seems none too interested in the political realities to which her subjects allude, including the government's construction of the nearby Picachos Dam that caused the flooding, the social unrest that ensued, and the looming threat of violence ("The walls have ears," says one woman, cutting off her loquacious husband). Plunging into these issues, rather than circling around them, might have provided this account with some much-needed oomph. In Spanish with subtitles.

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