One Minute to Nine

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!



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I moved here in May after 32 years on the Arkansas/ Oklahoma border. I love this town and already feel quite at home here. There is an amazing vibration here, to which I am happily contributing. I am a tournament Scrabble player, so I was quite pleased to find a couple of other tourneygoers here, forming the core of an official Scrabble club that meets Sundays at the Heartsong Chai Hut.

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