Discovering Dominga (2002)
Discovering Dominga (Dir. Patricia Flynn. 57 min. Jaguar House Film/University of California Extension Center for Media and Independent Learning, 2002) The film documents the journey of Denese Becker. She was the sole survivor in her immediate family after a 1982 massacre in her Guatemalan Maya community. In 1985 she had come to Iowa as the twelve-year old adopted child of a minister in Algona. As a child she does not feel that her peers are willing to accept her account of what happened to her family. She grows into adulthood, marries Blaine Becker and has two children. But she continues to be haunted by her memories of slaughter. Blaine and supportive friends in Algona help her unravel the mystery of the Rio Negro massacre, in which 177 were killed by military and paramilitary forces and buried in a pit. They also travel with her to Guatemala for emotional support. The film alternates between Iowa scenes of growing awareness and anger about U.S. foreign policy in Central America and Denise/Dominga’s growing activism in Guatemala as a person demanding an exhumation of the bodies and enlisting as a witness in the possible prosecution of those responsible. The film shows her conflicted identity, her desire to be in both places to play different roles. Her marriage is the victim of these conflicts over where her loyalties belong. The film ends without any resolution of the emotional, legal, or political issues that hang over the massacre.
Marty Knepper Morningside College firstname.lastname@example.org & John Shelton Lawrence Morningside College email@example.com