Corruption in the Mexican justice system comes into vivid focus in this close-up account of a campaign to free a young breakdancer serving a 20-year sentence for a murder he could not possibly have committed.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2010
Corruption and incompetence in the Mexican justice system come into vivid focus in this close-up account of a campaign to exonerate a young breakdancer, Antonio Zúñiga, who is serving a 20-year sentence for a murder he could not possibly have committed. Injustice may be systemic in Mexico: until very recently guilt, not innocence, was presumed and there is a sprawling bureaucracy of law enforcement and prosecution with a vested interest in maintaining its 90 per cent conviction rate. Two Berkeley-based lawyers crusading to change this join forces with filmmaker Geoffrey Smith (The English Surgeon, NZIFF08) to expose the gross unfairness for all to see: it’s a clue to the complacency of the bored, contemptuous officials that they actually allow cameras into the courtroom. The encounter is a shockingly intimate one: Zúñiga and his lying accusers eyeball each other, only feet apart with just prison bars to separate them. The human cost of institutional corruption could not be clearer – nor our anxiety for a just outcome more pressingly felt. — BG