La virgen de los sicariosh

The film “La virgen de los sicarios” or “Our Lady of the Assassins” tells an interesting and somewhat convoluted story about cities in Columbia, and how they are trying to get along in the post-Pablo Escobar and drug cartel world that they find themselves in. The drug trade is very much still alive and active, but Barbet Schroder is showing the cities as they are struggling with the leftover violence that Escobar’s regime had inflicted on Columbia. This movie is somewhat unique from the last couple of films we have seen, though it is probably most closely related to the film “The City of God.” Very quickly in “Our Lady of Assassins” we are quickly clued into the depths to which Columbia has sunk. Thousand s of people are being killed routinely, bystanders are robbed at gunpoint, and as we see part of the way though, some are killed just for trying to resist having their property stolen. Human life has no more value to the members of the criminal element. What is shocking is how the people are portrayed as all being guilty or in some way deserving of the death that is handed out on such are careless and regular basis. The young man Alexis is guilty of this loss of value for life on many occasions. He showed that he would just as quickly “off” someone as he would any menial task in his life. Revenge for something as little as having been disrespected is seen as worthy enough of a reason to take someone’s life. In the writing of Ricardo Vargas, “State, Esprit Mafioso, and Armed Conflict in Columbia” he wrote that, “The esprit Mafioso is growing and is permeating Columbian society as a whole. Values such as vengeance and the violent settling of scores are an increasing part of everyday life.” (page 123)
The moral of the movie, by the end, seemed to be that no one in any of Columbia could be considered as innocent.  Fernando even indicated as much when the woman was horrified at the man being killed right in front of them, and he said there are no innocents here. Later it is even more striking when the dog is killed and Alexis is sad because he didn’t think that there was any reason for the dog to have to die. More value for a common dog than for a human being, that is how far Columbia had sunk and how bad an influence the mafia had had on the Columbian people. Forrest Hylton wrote in his book that, “In 1987-88 homicide had already become the leading cause of death among males” but that, “Social movements staged massive marches in the cities and the countryside.” (page 75) So while things were really bad in Columbia, the people were realizing the issues that they were facing and were finally trying to do something to return their country to having the basic level of respect for life, and finally putting all the mafia and gang fighting to rest.