The Night Watchman

From dusk till dawn, Martin stands guard at a very unusual cemetery: a sprawling graveyard filled with garish mausoleums, built in memory of the country’s slain drug lords. Undeniable proof of an undeclared war, this outrageous necropolis is growing by the minute, offering employment to a horde of workers as the grim future prospects of the surrounding area – one of the country’s premiere drug-dealing destinations – is mirrored in the domes’ shiny surfaces. As the radio and the newspapers chronicle the horrendous crimes being committed on a daily basis, Natalia Almada’s hypnotizing documentary watches from the sidelines, monitoring the life of those who live off and around this ghastly business. Entirely shot on the grounds of the extravagant burial site Martin watches over at night, “El Velador” is a miniature gem of introspective observation, a rare film that speaks of violence without ever portraying it, while at the same time offering a reminder of the constant alternation between life and death. Official selection at the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes.