Traveling Saints | Chicago Reader

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Mexican producer Alejandro Springall makes his feature directing debut with this jaunty, semicomic 1999 excursion into magic realism, adapted from Maria Amparo Escandon's novel Esperanza's Box of Saints. A beautiful, pious widow (Dolores Heredia), unable to accept the sudden death of her teenage daughter, imagines all sorts of lurid explanations for the girl's disappearance, from an elaborate medical cover-up to abduction by white slavers, before an image of Saint Jude on her oven door launches her on a pilgrimage. Her very Mexican blend of naivete, faith, and dedication requires a sprightly absurdist tone that Springall maintains quite well—in fact, too well. The adventures pile up with no inflection, no downtime; each new space is a set decorator's hallucination, and this steady diet of the extraordinary becomes cloying. Also known as Santitos. R, 105 min.

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