To See You Again

That was a hard watch. I cried throughout.

To See You Again is a documentary about women searching for their missing loved ones in Mexico. In Morales, the families of the missing band together and win the right to have government mass graves opened, and to exhume the bodies for identification. Not trusting the authorities, they fight for and are granted the right to oversee the exhumation, to take their own notes, gather any evidence they can.

In Mexico, corruption is so endemic, government graves, which are supposed to be for the disposal of unclaimed bodies, are also used as dumping grounds by organised crime gangs and cartels. Also, if the police want to make someone disappear, they can be stuck there. Or if they don’t feel like doing their jobs, like investigating why a corpse has turned up, they can save themselves the work and just chuck them in with whatever else is going in the ground. The horror and the callousness and the cruelty of these people is almost beyond comprehension.

You hear of them pulling bodies out this pit, still with ligatures on their hands and wrists, women bound and tortured, children stuffed inside the body bags of other victims, and you can’t believe the evil that men do. What people are capable of.

These mothers are searching for their daughters, and someone just lifted and used them like they were nothing, ended them like they were nothing, and the government dumped them like they were nothing, and they were everything to these women. Single mothers raising their kids, tshirts saying “Bring her home”, this wee lady holding up a picture of her trans daughter, saying, “She was my son. I called her Honey”, all of them doing everything they can for those they loved more than anything. They were the centre of their world.

Watching these women climb into white forensic suits, head down into a body pit, to take notes and bear witness, and know with every turn of the sod, that they might see the decomposed remains of the person they love, it takes a strength that is unimaginable. I’m not a religious person, but it makes you want to pray, “God look after them and grant them peace.” No one should ever have to go through that.

And yet, with everything they face, in the midst of this tragedy, and horror, and injustice, they remain good people. They look after each other. They are vigilant, collecting details of clothing and appearance, knowing it might not be their loved one, but it is someone’s loved one, someone’s everything. They do their best to gather as much evidence that might identify this person’s remains. They support other women there, hugging them, covering them if they if gets too much and they need to leave, doing for each other. That you could go through all that, have such a burden, and still think of others, do your best for others . . . The goodness of some people is also beyond comprehension.

This film is very matter of fact, and feels understated for the subject it’s covering. It just shows them heading off in the morning, climbing into their suits, and heading back at night, their arms full of notes. Yet the emotion of it is tremendous. You are just in awe.