Added: March 8, 2014 – Last updated: May 2, 2015


Author: Olimpia Arellano-Neri

Title: Cinematographic and Literary Representations of the Femicides in Ciudad Juarez

Subtitle: -

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, University of Cincinnati

Year: 2013

Pages: ix + 242pp.

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century, 21st Century | Mexican History | Representations: Films, Literature; Types: Femicide; Victims: Homicide


Link: OhioLINK (Free Access)



»In the border city of Ciudad Juarez, from 1993 to 2008, around 450 women (the exact number is unknown) were brutally murdered or simply disappeared in mysterious circumstances. Although the femicides have not stopped as of yet, the various patterns that characterized the femicides during this period have recently been overshadowed by a different type of murder which involves both men and women and which seems to occur during the daylight and in more public places. The large number of femicides has attracted international attention from groups ranging from human rights associations to individual authors working in different literary genres. The femicides and all the social conflicts that have been linked to them have yielded a vast production of literary and cinematographic pieces which attempt to represent the murders and the circumstances under which they took place. In this dissertation, six documentaries Senorita extraviada (2001), The City of Lost Girls (2003), The City of Dead Women (2005), Bajo Juarez (2006), On the Edge (2006), and Silencio en Juarez (2008); three fiction films Espejo retrovisor (2002), Bordertown (2006), and Traspatio (2009); and three novels Desert Blood (2005), 2666 (2004), and Las muertas de Ciudad Juarez: El caso de Elizabeth Castro Garcia y Abdel Latif Sharif Sharif (1999) are analyzed and compared.
The ability of writers and filmmakers to use textual, aural and visual elements to reproduce the likeness of the reality before them is assessed, as well as the strategies employed to compel us to believe that that reality is indeed re-presented before us objectively. The comparison of the representation of the victims aims to answer two questions: whether or not an objective depiction of victims can be achieved without compromising their identity and individual value as human beings, and whether or not these femicides can be represented in a way that neither over-emphasizes nor ignores the implied violence or the socio-political circumstances under which these crimes happened. At the same time, comparison of the plots serves to answer another key question, namely that of the perceived causes of the femicides.« (Source: Thesis)


  Abstract (p. ii)
  Acknowledgments (p. vi)
  List of Figures (p. ix)
  Introduction (p. 1)
  Chapter 1. Documentaries (p. 11)
    1. Representation of the Victims (p. 13)
      1.1 Death (p. 15)
      1.2 Life (p. 19)
        1.2.1 "Good" or "Bad" (p. 21)
        1.2.2 Ethos and Ego (p. 23)
 Ciudad Juarez Population and Migratory Ethos (p. 24)
 Maquiladora Workforce Ethos (p. 25)
 Female-Family Ethos (p. 25)
 Male-Family Ethos (p. 29)
 Age-Gender Ethos (p. 34)
 The Ego (p. 37)
    2. Irony in the Documentaries (p. 39)
    3. Material and Format (p. 58)
      3.1 Narrators (p. 59)
      3.2 Interviews (p. 63)
      3.3 Footage (p. 73)
      3.4 Archival Documents (p. 76)
      3.5 Symbols (p. 77)
      3.6 Musical Score (p. 79)
      3.7 The Opening (p. 80)
      3.8 Inconsistencies in Documentaries (p. 87)
      3.9 Violation to the Body of the Documentary (p. 91)
      3.10 Nichols' Modes (p. 94)
    4. Conclusions (p. 98)
  Chapter 2. Fiction Films (p. 101)
    1. The focus (p. 106)
      1.1 Focus on stype (p. 107)
      1.2 Focus on the plot (p. 109)
      1.3 Focus on a character (p. 119)
      1.4 Focus on ideas (p. 125)
    2. Representation of the victims (p. 127)
      2.1 Direct victims (p. 127)
      2.2 Indirect Victims (p. 142)
    3. The causes (p. 144)
    4. Violence in the films (p. 160)
    5. Americanization or Universalization of the Subject (p. 166)
    6. Conclusions (p. 169)
  Chapter 3. Novels (p. 172)
    1. Narrator (p. 175)
    2. Plot, Characters, and Theories (p. 190)
    3. Conclusions (p. 224)
  Conclusions (p. 226)
  Bibliography (p. 232)

Wikipedia: Femicide: Female homicides in Ciudad Juárez