Our Lady of the Assassins

The film Our Lady of the Assassins is the tale of Fernando Vallejo, the Columbian author who returns to Medellín after a long absence and the violence that is an ever-present threat on the lives of Medellín citizens.  He falls in love with a young man named Alexis.  Alexis divulges how his life of violence and thievery works and Alexis remembers how the city used to be a thriving and wonderful place to live.  A rival gang then murders Alexis and Fernando is devastated.  He then meets Wilmar, another gang member who resembles Alexis.  He then discovers that Wilmar was the one that murdered his beloved Alexis and vows to kill him.  That is until he realizes that Alexis was the one who began the bloody altercations with the murder of Wilmar’s brother.  Wilmar is then murdered and Fernando is left alone to what is presumed to be to commit suicide.  Fernando is at first appalled by the amount of violence that has taken over his beloved city.  

The acceptance that Fernando has for Wilmar when he learns that he killed Alexis because his own brother had been murdered first would be unnerving in any city in the United States but in Medellín, and in Columbia in general, it was commonplace.   Ricardo Vargas states, “Values such as vengeance and the violent settling of scores are an increasing part of everyday life”.  These vindictive murders were seen as justice where the government could not intervene.  Vargas also states earlier that, “The lack of legitimate institutions to resolve conflicts and the fact that many of those involved in the drug trade came from lower-class sectors previously denied access to the region’s sources of wealth led to an unprecedented wave of violence.”  These waves of violence took over Medellín in the film.  Fernando goes on and on about the past before he left and how simple and charming everything was.  He eventually becomes used to the constant violence in the streets. 

In Guerrillas, Drugs and Human Rights in U.S.-Colombia Policy, 1988-2002  it is discussed that the United States government provided Columbia with funding to try and rid the country of the obviously out of control drug trafficking problem.  The terms of the agreement however were interpreted somewhat broader than expected and the funding was being used all over the country instead of only in the highly concentrated areas where the most illegal activities were taking place.   It also states that it was evident that the Columbian government was too afraid to intervene and go after the groups in the 1990’s.  The violence would continue as seen in the film without any kind of governmental assistance. 

Our Lady of the Assassins gives an accurate depiction of the overwhelming violence that was taking place within the city of Medellín and how the government officials were doing nothing or not enough to stop the constant killings, robberies, and overall violence.