A ‘horror’ motherhood
After critical acclaim at Tribeca, 'Huesera: The Bone Woman' is now available in the U.S.
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“You’re 12 weeks pregnant. Now it’s official.”
This sentence, as short as it is blunt, has changed the course and the world of Valeria (Natalia Solián) and Raúl (Alfonso Dosal) forever. After so much longing, the young Mexican couple can now shout to the world that their first baby is soon to arrive.
Still ecstatic, Valeria and Raul rush to share the excitement with their friends and family, who hope this new life will change her perspective on children.
What this new mother is unaware of is that happiness, unlike heartbreak, is unfortunately ephemeral. She discovers this fact when she notices that her body not only harbors her future child, but also a kind of curse that has taken up residence in her bones with the sole purpose of terrorizing her. Distraught and consumed by dread, Valeria will find what seems to be her only salvation in a group of witches.
This is the story that filmmaker Michelle Garza Cervera charts in Huesera: The Bone Woman. Far from sentimental, and based in the horror genre, the Mexican filmmaker creates a disturbing, overwhelming and intriguing tale about motherhood.
“Motherhood goes through me, through my mother, through my grandmother, through myself, through the questions I have about whether I want to be one. And my way of expressing myself falls into horror. This genre gives me many tools, it’s very generous, it allows me to express very complex emotions in a cinematographic way and I’m very passionate about it. Motherhood crosses me and I express myself through horror,” Garza Cerveza told AL DÍA.
For her debut film, the director has developed a very long creative and investigative process with which she was able to reflect on the sacrifice of a personal life, fears, social prejudices, queer love, feminism and autonomy over the body.
“In order to free ourselves, to feel better daily, it is essential to go through uncomfortable or painful moments of internal confrontation. And for me, it had to do with the process that we women in particular go through, how we make a family and how it is that we often get into imposed paths without questioning ourselves and that we begin to feel suffocated and unhappy. Through rock cinema, we can talk about those pains, anguishes and panics that are difficult to express, and in a very fast way, with image and sound, we can represent complex emotions. Bone fractures and images of broken women are examples of that,” she said.
An award-winning run starts in New York
Huesera: The Bone Woman premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022, and it won the Best New Narrative Director Award and the Nora Ephron Award — an award given to women directors whose films debut at the event.
The Mexican film also won the Blood Window Award for Best Film; the Citizen Kane Award for Best New Director at the Sitges Film Festival in Spain, and the Audience Award at the Morelia International Film Festival — one of the most important film festivals in Latin America.
The feature film will be screened in commercial cinemas in the United States starting on Feb. 10 and will also be available on video on demand from XYZ Films on Feb. 16.