One thing is certain about film festivals. Altibajos, as it is expressed in
Spanish. A rollercoaster of emotions. After seeing the inspiring and
uplifting film THE GATES, I went to see one of the more heart-wrenching
films I’ve ever had the experience of viewing, ONE MINUTE TO NINE,
made even more powerful because it hits close to home; it is about
a family in Grants Pass.
Despite some less-than-amazing editing, and at times unnecessarily
nauseating shaky filming, the film told a rather extraordinary story of
abuse survival and the lengths that persons will go to in the interest
of their loved ones. In a style not dissimilar from CAPTURING THE
FRIEDMANS, director Tommy Davis used a mixture of home videos
and his own filming to adumbrate at the conditions in the Maldonado
household. Wendy, the mother, finally kills her husband in a state
of desperation to spare her family further abuse. The story of the
last days of freedom before imprisonment is one that is fascinating
and has been used by many filmmakers. When it is a documentary
about a real person, it is exponentially more moving.
There is audio of the 911 call made after Wendy had bludgeoned
her husband to death with a hammer. The scene is accompanied
by still images of the murder scene. Intense. I was squirming.
The woman next to me in the theater was crying.
If there is such a thing as justifiable homicide, this movie presents it.
It is an interesting study in human psychology. It is an important
film for victims of domestic abuse, demonstrating the potentially
tragic consequences of covering up the acts of abusers.
Wendy Maldonado’s children and mother were on-hand for a question-
and-answer session after the film, adding to the reality and poignancy
of what the film documented. The children had admirable strength
despite everything they had gone through. Bravo to the Ashland
Independent Film Festival for putting this film on its schedule!