The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders (2023) Documentary Review – A crime documentary thoroughly well done

A crime documentary thoroughly well done

Director Maria José Cuevas could not have picked a better subject for a crime documentary. The story of “The Lady of Silence” is indeed odd, curious, and full of intrigue. Well, The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders dives into the many fascinating aspects of the case that plagued Mexico City, such as the serial killer believing in a God of death, their claimed profession of being a wrestler, and taking memorabilia from each victim.

The documentary is very artistic and well-made. The intro has a nice hook with a murder-mystery kind of theme. The fonts used throughout the film even cleverly mimic that which is printed on old Agatha Christie books. The recurring color palette also holds significance, which is subtly revealed near the end of the film.

There are an array of different documentary techniques applied here. The filmmakers do not stick to just one thing. For example, many of the interviewees are sitting down, facing the camera, as they describe a person or event. However, in one or two cases, the interviewees are filmed standing up, which is unusual to see. But in this case, it adds a sense of urgency and brings a new dynamic.

There is also no heavy-handed narration that sometimes accompanies crime docs. In this film, the interviewees recounting of events is the only narration needed. The filmmakers also make an effort to show an appreciation for the Mexican elderly population in general and a focus on the victims and their families, as the serial killer’s targets were all elderly women.

The documentary also shows the discrimination that the police and Mexican government exhibited by prioritizing the murders while somewhat ignoring a lot of other violent femicides that were happening at the time. The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders highlights every group that was affected, including the many falsely accused (one of whom died in prison for sins he didn’t commit). 

There are so many ways that this story could have been told. There could have been ten times as many interviewees. There could have been more or less backstory on the serial killer, etc. The creative avenues are endless. But the way that this is filmed seems to be near perfection. There is variety, there is brevity, and above all, there is harmony.

And if you’re not native to Mexico, then you may be wondering why you have never heard of “The Lady of Silence” before. Well, that’s because until this film was released, no one has given the story a proper international platform to stand on. Props to Director Maria José Cuevas and her team. Well done.

In a pleasant and creative way, The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders tells a story, but it also points out the faults of the Mexican government and its police. It is thoroughly well-made, and it might just be one of the best crime documentaries that has been produced this year.

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  • Verdict - 9/10

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