The movie

Sin señas particulares

The story of Magdalena symbolizes the numerous mothers in Mexico looking for their missing son or daughter.

Length: 100 min
Country: Mexico, Spain
Language spoken: Spanish
Language subtitles: Dutch
Cast: Mercedes Hernández, David Illescas, Juan Jesús Varela
Director: Fernanda Valadez
Release date: 2020


Magdalena (Mercedes Hernández) is a middle-aged woman from Guanajuato in central Mexico whose teenage son Jesús left home with a friend three years before, the two of them hoping to get into the US as illegals. When the body of Jesús’s friend is found on Mexican territory, Magdalena sets out on a quest to find her son in the treacherous borderlands, where bandits waylay buses for vulnerable passengers who can be robbed, raped, or trafficked. On the way, Magdalena comes across a teenage boy called Miguel (David Illescas) who is making the opposite journey: just deported from the US, he is now miserably trying to find his mother. A bond is formed…

‘Hypnotic and heartbreaking, “Identifying Features” [the English title] is a feature debut to marvel at, but only once you’re able to shake off the bone-deep chills emanating from Mexican filmmaker Fernanda Valadez’s disorienting tale of a mother’s search for her missing son. Equal parts odyssey, investigation and descent, this eerily shattering dispatch from the heart of a grief-beset country—a double winner at Sundance last year [the Audience Award and the Best Screenplay prize]…—has the power to expand our notions of what a border story is.’—Robert Abele, The Los Angeles Times