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Reel Docs presents: Santa Rosa: Odyssey in the Rhythm of Mariachi

By Caren Cross

This film is a departure from my normal choices for Reel Docs, which I characterize mostly as character-driven and emotional. This film, though it sounds as if it were a history documentary, is not only that. It affected me greatly, partly because the events took place one hour from here and also because it is a very moving story.

Santa Rosa: Odyssey in the Rhythm of Mariachi
Presented by Reel Docs
Tue and Wed, Jan 28 and 29, 4pm
La Biblioteca
Reloj 50A
80 pesos includes film, Q&A with the producer and a margarita reception

Refugees from war-torn Poland during WWII were thrust into internment camps and forced to choose disease and death or an attempt to escape after Russia and Germany divided their homeland. Those who chose to brave the long and dangerous ocean crossing eventually landed off the coast of California, where the US government sent them directly to rough internment camps originally built to house Japanese citizens. Heavy-handed negotiations by US and British governments with Mexico found them a comfortable home in colonia Santa Rosa in León, Guanajuato, just an hour from San Miguel de Allende. It was here that these refugees finally found rest, hope, and direction. Santa Rosa is the story of their long journey, the kindness of their Mexican hosts, and the hardships these strong men and women turned into a triumph of the will. This documentary follows a granddaughter’s search for the grave of her former-refugee grandfather as she tries to learn more about his experience at Santa Rosa that had become a family secret. Santa Rosa is an engaging account of the long and difficult odyssey faced by these refugees and the sanctuary they found in a beautiful colony in León.

Reel Docs is a documentary film series in which the director or someone intimately involved with the film is present for a Q&A following the showing. For this event, producer/writer Peter Piwowarcyk will be present to answer all the questions that arise as you see the film. And, as always, there will be a margarita reception for Peter following the Q&A.


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