May 20, 2024

The Guardian of the Monarchs 2024 Movie Review

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The Guardian of the Monarchs 2024 Movie Review

To say that Homero Gómez González was an example of bravery is an understatement. The Mexican activist and environmentalist gave his life to protect the monarch butterfly, a species vulnerable to extinction , from the environmental destruction generated by organized crime. Emiliano Ruprah ‘s Keeper of the Monarchs does little to honor his life or highlight in detail his work on behalf of the environment, rather, like a typical Netflix documentary, it is more interested in his alleged murder and the system that caused it. This approach is not entirely unsuccessful, as it results in a testimony that is as infuriating as it is terrifying of the levels of immorality and impunity that exist in Mexico.

Through a mix of interviews, news footage and small acting recreations, the documentary presents Homero Gómez, shows his passion for butterflies and briefly explains the migration of this wonderful species. With the foundations solidly established, we delve deeper, step by step, into the circumstances that forced Homer into a life of activism. Ruprah and her editor Ricardo Poery do a solid job weaving together interviews from journalists, Homero’s family and friends to address the expansion of organized crime in Michoacán, his interest in El Rosario and his modus operandi to exploit the region.

Addressing the political issue, Ruprah managed to interview Silvano Aureoles, former governor of Michoacán, who on camera does the only thing politicians know how to do: lie. His presence lays the foundation to explain the links between organized crime and authorities, which become even clearer during the investigation of Homer’s alleged murder. The helplessness grows as the documentary progresses and we learn about the brazen actions of the Michoacán Prosecutor’s Office and its “conclusions” about Homero’s death. The Guardian of the Monarchs demonstrates, once again, that Mexico is a fertile territory for violence thanks to the impunity with which crime operates based on the support provided by the State.

Unfortunately, these successes of the documentary come hand in hand with an insensitive fixation on the death of Homer. At no time is there any doubt that The Guardian of the Monarchs is a documentary produced by Netflix in both form and substance because it follows the usual clumsy patterns. The director punctually meets Netflix’s algorithmic demands as if it were a checklist and thereby reduces Homer’s tremendous work; At times it feels like the film is more interested in creating suspense around the case than in examining the legacy of its subject. In addition to this, we have that the documentary has technical elements, such as photography and score, that follow conventional Netflix standards , which makes it seem like a factory product, a report lacking identity.

Despite the insensitive direction, the film does the job of making visible the lethal obstacles that activists face in Mexico: this is a compact and direct testimony of the corruption, impunity and lack of ethics that are sinking the country. All this can be condensed in a terrifying way in one of the subjects interviewed: Mario Pinedo Infante, prosecutor for intentional homicides in Michoacán, repeats with complete coldness the insulting version of the prosecution about Homero’s death and still has the nerve to show the camera a stack of folders that, he claims, are proof that the activist was not murdered. The face of this coward is also the face of the Mexican government, of its indifference to violence, of its dishonesty and of its hypocrisy.

The Guardian of the Monarchs 2024 Movie Review