Monday, November 14, 2005

"Cronicas" and "Awful Normal"

I've seen two films about child molesters in the past two days, which makes for depressing viewing. The first is Cronicas, directed by Sebastian Cordero and starring John Leguizamo. I remember hearing an interview with Leguizamo about this movie -- he speaks Spanish throughout most of the movie, which, if I remember correctly, is a relatively new experience for him -- and thinking that the premise was intriguing.

A man in an Ecuadorian town accidentally kills a boy with his truck. Leguizamo is a star reporter from Miami on assignment in Ecuador to report on a serial child rapist and murderer. While Leguizamo is out chasing interviews, he witnesses an angry mob try to lynch the man who struck the boy. He interferes, saves the man's life and is subsequently hailed as a hero. But that proves to be just the beginning of the story.

The movie's a thriller, but it also concerns the power of the press and the role of journalists.

The second movie that I saw is Awful Normal, directed, written and produced by Celesta Davis. The movie's a personal documentary of sorts, as Davis prepares to confront the man who sexually abused her when she was five.

Unfortunately the film has not gotten much of a distribution because Davis has not been able to secure insurance covering possible lawsuits brought against the film. Apparently theaters and cable channels won't show any films that don't have this insurance. (The movie is being released on DVD, however, which are available here.)

The movie is powerful, though, and important I think because so many children are abused and so many people who have been abused as children have never reported it. I've read about the numerous lawsuits involving priest molestation, but this movie made it personal by allowing me to understand what the individual sexual abuse victim goes through. It's really amazing that the viewer is with Davis every step of the way as she talks about the abuse with her family, makes a plan to confront the man and then puts the plan in motion. By granting viewers such access, she will hopefully make it easier for other people to come forward with their stories.

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