La Civil

Director: Teodora Ana Mihai

Film Info

  • Year: 2022
  • Film Format: DCP, Blu-ray and DVD
  • Origin: Belgium, Romania, Mexico
  • Runtime: 135 mins
  • Color
  • Language: In Spanish with English subtitles

La Civil tells the story of Cielo, a mother in search of her daughter, abducted by  a criminal gang in Northern Mexico. As the authorities fail to offer support in the search, Cielo takes matters into her own hands. Cielo begins her own investigation and earns the trust and sympathy of Lamarque, an unconventional army Lieutenant working in the region. He agrees to help Cielo in her search, because her research data could be useful to his operations as well. Cielo’s collaboration with Lamarque pulls her further into a vicious cycle of violence. The film focuses on Cielo’s emotional rollercoaster, as she is drawn into increasingly intense and dangerous circumstances. The camera stays close, we never lose sight of her as she gradually transforms from housewife into avenging activist. As events unfold, Cielo gets closer to the truth: discovering a mass grave, obtaining official DNA analyses, confronting one of the presumed kidnappers, but corruption and apathy keep her from finding resolution. Until the end finally comes, unpredictable and uninvited...

Winner of the Un Certain Regard Prize of Courage at the Cannes Film Festival.

Winner of the Audience Choice Award for Best Film - HOLA Mexico Film Festival, Los Angeles.

La Civil is a Zeitgeist Films release in association with Kino Lorber. It opened in theaters on March 3, 2023.

To book this film please contact Nancy Gerstman or Emily Russo.

A press kit, trailer, stills, jpegs of the poster and social media assets are available to download from our Exhibition DropBox.

Teodora Ana Mihai

Teodora Ana Mihai was born in Bucharest, under Ceausescu’s regime. In 1989 she joined her parents who had fled to Belgium the year before. She discovered her love for cinema as a high school student in San Francisco, California and went on to study film at Sarah Lawrence College, in upstate New York. Upon returning to Belgium, she started working in the industry as a script supervisor and assistant director. However, after several years on diverse film sets, Teodora decided to dedicate herself to her own film projects. 

After directing her debut documentary Waiting for August, awarded with over 10 international prizes (amongst which Best Feature Documentary at Karlovy Vary IFF and Hot Docs) and later on nominated for the European Film Awards, Teodora directed her first fiction feature, La Civil. For La Civil’s screenplay, located in Mexico, she collaborated with award-winning Mexican novelist Habacuc Antonio De Rosario as part of Torino Film Lab’s ScriptLab program. Teodora was also selected to participate with this project at the Cinéfondation Residence, for the 2017-2018 winter session. Teodora’s films take on the challenge of striking a balance between social relevance and audiovisual poetry.

Read an interview with Teodora Ana Mihai for The Golden Globes.

Read an interview with Teodora Ana Mihai for Film International.

“A gripping and heartbreaking film. A revenge narco-western set in Northern Mexico... tensely thrilling. The veteran Mexican actress, Arcelia Ramírez (Like Water For Chocolate), gives a towering performance.” – Manuel Betancourt, Variety
“An explosive fiction debut…a gripping thriller than balances tension with a nuanced portrait of the culture of violence that has come to define modern Mexico. A commanding, award-worthy central performance from Arcelia Ramirez.” – Allan Hunter, Screen
“Gripping…powerful… An authentic portrait of this dangerous world.” – Gary M. Kramer, Salon
“A harrowingly immersive portrait of a society being eaten alive from within.” – Kyle Smith, Wall Street Journal
“This movie grabs you by the heart.” – Glenn Kenny,
“A dense and meticulously crafted drama.” – Sumner Forbes, Film Threat
“An engrossing, unflinching and suspenseful thriller… Arcelia Ramírez gives a raw, resonating and bravura performance.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
“A modern masterpiece of the low-key thriller and a substantive exploration of Mexico’s ongoing cartel problem.” – J Paul Johnson, Film Obsessive
“A descent into every parent’s worst nightmare. This is a brilliantly realistic nightmare that stays believable right up to the end.” – Cath Clarke, The Guardian
“An impressive debut... blends humanity and militant tactics for seeking retribution. Mahi isn’t celebrating the military during their brutal interrogations and gun battles; she’s just sticking to the facts. I recommend looking up Miriam Rodriguez of San Fernando, who inspired this unbelievable story.” – Eamon Tracy, Irish Film Critic
“A brilliant performance by Arcielia Ramirez, who appears in virtually every shot of the film.” – Mitch Abidor, Jewish Currents