Table of Contents
Religions, Volume 8, Issue 3 (March 2017)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) La Santísima Muerte, the patron of the marginalized and dispossessed, is especially favored by [...] Read more. La Santísima Muerte, the patron of the marginalized and dispossessed, is especially favored by devotees who appeal to her duality between dark/evil and light/good. Films such as Eva Aridjis’s La Santa Muerte and Pável Valenzuela Arámburo’s La Santísima Muerte aim to portray Santa Muerte in all of her multiplicity. But perhaps inadvertently, Aridjis’s film reinforces the contrast, rather than the intersections, between “light” and “dark.” Meanwhile, Valenzuela Arámburo’s film deliberately embraces the saint’s contradictory duality: accepting illegality as a dark menace in the vein of Santa Muerte’s typical detractors and rearticulating it as a necessary aspect of the saint’s holy works. Valenzuela Arámburo’s film not only emphasizes that devotees invoke Santa Muerte for her powers of “good” as well as for those of “evil,” it demonstrates that these devotees incorporate the saint’s dark side not as a consequence of their marginalized status, but as a means to resist it.