Llegaron de noche tells the story of Lucia, played by an extraordinary Juana Acosta. Directed by Hispanic-Salvadoran Imanol Uribe, the movie was released in March 2022.
The year is 1989. Lucia works as a cleaner at Universidad Centroamericana, the Jesuit university in El Salvador. It was a time of civil war, death squads, with the military in conflict with rebels and terrorists. Lucia asks the fathers for refuge. War is gripping the capital, and the country is not safe. One night, she awakes with a start. Heavy footsteps of men in uniform. The chilling silence of death. The Jesuit fathers have been brutally murdered. Lucia becomes the only witness to an inconvenient truth, a truth she cannot deny. “How can you deny something that is true?” she asks herself. A truth is simply a truth. And the truth needs to be told. It cannot be suppressed.
Lucia is a woman who paid with exile for her simple and heroic decision to reveal the whole truth. Without compromise, without subterfuge, without bartering, without gaining from it. She is a courageous woman surrounded by mediocre men, who rely on a metal badge.
The film is a feminine look at a world of men, portrayed as evil seducers. A world of the untouchable few. A dishonest world. A world hungry due to the greed of a few. The film moves with the repetitive slowness of endless interrogations. With the same answers and the same questions and the violence of ever-present torture. “We don’t tolerate this in the United States,” says the man from the CIA.
Lucia is not alone in her honesty. Her husband watches over her cuddling a newborn daughter, suppressing the violence innate in every man. A primitive survival based on self-defense. An automatic response to fear. Lucia is not alone. An American Jesuit looks for a way to exploit an opening in the opaque blanket of repression. This pressure levels the two sides.
Lucia, in a world of half-truths, of admitted-truths, of partisan-truths, of shouted-truths, of imposed-truths, repeats that those Jesuit fathers, who had done her so much good, cannot be bad, cannot be impostors. A simple truth, for her. The truth of relationship, of reciprocity, of dialogue. Fighting for truth is dangerous. Fighting for truth requires much, much courage. Fighting for the truth, however, is a duty.