Rita of the Sky

Rita of the Sky Movie Poster

In a story that prowls the edges between cultures, a judge sends a mysterious woman to a Kansas mental hospital because, to officials, her language resembles the "guttural noises" of a mentally ill person. After 10 years, they learn she is a Tarahumara Indian from the Copper Canyon in Mexico, who had been speaking her native language all along.

She had walked 1500 miles from her canyon village to Kansas. Emerging from captivity, she can no longer speak at all because of the drugs given to her in the hospital. Rita Carillo Quintero Mancinas is from Urique in the Barranca del Cobre in Chihuahua, Mexico.

The film introduces Rita's Tarahumara family and friends, Mexicans involved in her repatriation, and Kansas law enforcement and lawyers. Parallel to the story of Rita's incarceration, the film documents her route from Mexico to Kansas.

Filmmakers recreated Rita's walk by following the route she would have walked for 1500 miles-filming in the canyon where Rita's journey began, into the Chihuahuan mountains, into the Chihuahuan desert, and, finally, into Kansas. The resulting footage is experimental in style, using subjective camera and other effects.

To complete its three-element structure, the film also contains excerpts from a production of "La Mujer Que Cayo del Cielo" (The Woman Who Fell from the Sky) by Mexican playwright Victor Hugo Rascon Banda.

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