It is rare that a profile of a single woman manages to say something as profound about the lives of women as the film Mom does. The life story of Hilda, a member of the indigenous Tzotzil people, penetrates deeply precisely because there is nothing extraordinary about it in the impoverished south of Mexico, or in Latin America on the whole.
In between her endless tasks and daily chores, Hilda candidly tells the director, her oldest son Xun Sero, about her life shaped by adversities. One of the events described has direct relevance to the director: his father forcibly lifted Hilda into his car and raped her, cheating on his wife in the process. Hilda was of course blamed for the events, so her parents threw her out, and even her own son – the director Xun Sero – blamed her for having to grow up without a father.
Through his mother’s story, Sero carefully cuts an open wound into the structures of the society around him. In the city streets, the camera lingers on the faces of other indigenous women. They sell handicrafts, corn, and chips, carry and nurse children, sit on the pavement and wait. Are they also silent victims of violence, raw from being stomped on by the patriarchy over and over again? There is no escape from considering their fates alongside Hilda’s. Is there guilt, are there secrets hidden away by each of them as well, only no one will ever hear their stories? Unless someone makes a movie about them.
Sissi Korhonen (translated by Virpi Sumu)
Content warning: discussion about rape