In this heart-rending yet eerily poetic debut from Laura Baumeister — the first feature narrative directed by a Nicaraguan female filmmaker — the bond between an 11-year-old girl and her mother is tested when they are suddenly separated while eking out a precarious existence near the country’s biggest landfill.
Daughter of Rage
The first narrative feature directed by a Nicaraguan woman, Daughter of Rage was inspired by children filmmaker Laura Baumeister met while working as a teacher in Nicaragua.
Eleven-year-old María lives with her mom Lilibeth near Nicaragua’s biggest landfill, an oppressive place where the pair scramble to survive by recycling metal scraps and breeding their dog to sell the puppies. Although hardened by the tough luck they’ve been dealt, Lilibeth and María’s relationship keeps them going.
Soon though, the situation gets complicated by local men ready to take advantage of their precarious position, and Lilibeth decides to leave María in the hands of a couple who run a sweatshop while she tries to solve things. There María meets Tadeo, a mild-mannered boy with a kind soul who shows her the ropes of the place. They quickly develop a tender connection that helps María cope with her feelings of abandonment. Even though Tadeo is sick and pining for María, it is he who shows her a way out when she decides it’s time to go find her mother.
Heart-rending yet eerily poetic and powerful — even hopeful in the face of indescribable adversity — the film goes beyond cinematic pieces that rhapsodize on the lives of the most marginalized in the global south, and lets us into the dreams of the unforgettable María, whose relentless quest for freedom is a resounding affirmation of her will to live.
Content advisory: scenes of violence