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International Programme 2013
The Convict Patient Alejandro Solar Luna

After an assassination attempt on the life of the Mexican president a man is locked up as a psychiatric case for the next 23 years. A record of the extinction of a human being.

The Convict Patient

Documentary Film
83 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Alejandro Solar Luna, Rodrigo Herrnaz, Issa Guerra, Armando Casas
Alejandro Solar Luna
Luis Leñero Elu
Ignacio Miranda
Ernesto Contreras, Alejandro Solar Luna
Alejandro Solar Luna
One of those stories that it would be a reckless understatement to call incredible: during a protest rally in Mexico City on 2 October, 1968, almost 300 people are killed as President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz deploys the armed forces and special units of the presidential guard to re-establish order in the country. Carlos Castañeda de la Fuente witnesses the events as a bystander. But that day was to determine the rest of his life: in a helpless act of outrage one and a half years later, the professed Christian attempts to assassinate Ordaz, but is arrested carrying a weapon before it happens and picked out to be groomed by the secret police as the fanatic mastermind of an attempted coup. When this fails, mainly because of the accused man’s naiveté, he is declared insane and locked away. He is believed to have disappeared. For years he is subjected to massive physical and mental abuse, later he is more or less forgotten. It is not before 1993, after 23 years as a psychiatric patient, that he is helplessly shoved off into “freedom” to eke out a miserable existence as a deranged homeless man in Mexico City. Director Alejandro Solar Luna spent a long time reconstructing the depths of this case: the extinction of a human being over four decades.

Ralph Eue