Juana's Journey (El Viaje De Juana)
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by Adele Schmidt
color, 24 min, 1999
For years, Juana, who is 18 years old, was a drug addict who lived in a street gang in Mexico City. Her little 3-year old daughter suffers most under Juana's depressions, which repeatedly caused Juana to stay away from home for weeks at a time. In these periods she was occasionally found totally stoned by her father, with whom she has a difficult relationship. Not only was she beaten by him in her youth, but now he also thrashes her daughter. Juana loves her child with heart and soul, but for a long time she was unable to take care of her. Juana has found some hope at the NACE organization (Niños Anónimos Con Esperanza) Through Juana's testimony, the documentary weaves the director's concern: the relationship between mother and daughter in a hostile environment, with frustration and poverty, where there are no apparent solutions.
Of the approximately 13,000 children currently living on the streets of Mexico City, at least 20% are girls. Averaging 9 years old when they leave home, the majority of these young girls claim poverty, domestic violence, and sexual abuse as the main reasons for leaving. Not surprisingly, most seek refuge in street gangs. Their sexual life starts early. Unfortunately, owing to their complete lack of any type of orientation on the subject, their first pregnancy usually occurs between the ages of 12 and 14. Being children themselves, these juvenile mothers simply don't have a clear set of alternatives for raising and educating a child of their own. Juana's story is one shared by many of these girls-the dilemma of being a mother living on today's mean streets.
Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
3rd Annual Short Film Festival, Mexico City
VIII International Documentary Encounter, Portugal
19th International New Latin American Film Festival, Cuba
4th International Independent Film Festival, Barcelona
XIII Mexican Film Festival, Guadalajara
13th International Documentary Film Festival, Munich
VII 'Message to Man' International Film Festival, St. Petersburg
IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
Latin American Studies Association, selection September 2001