Tribeca 2020: “Saria” (2019) ★★★★

When children or young adults are sent to an orphanage, we expect them to raise children in such a manner that they could become a respectful part of society. But what happens instead can be mind-boggling, scary, and unimaginable. And to know it all happened in real life, it breaks our hearts even further, leaving no hope for those who were abandoned by their parents.

Based on a true story, ¨Saria¨ follows two inseparable orphaned sisters, Saria (Estefania Tellez) and Ximena (Gabriela Ramirez), who try to survive the daily abuse at Virgen de la Asuncion Safe Home in Guatemala. During the day, as they dream to run to America, they’re being raped, beaten up, and each of their rights, as the rights of others at the orphanage, are being violated at an alarming intensity.

It is Valentine’s day. Ximena and Saria talk about the first kiss, how they may fall in love stupidly one day, and how, overall, their life can be improved once they leave the premises of Safe Home. More like a prison, they are forced to clean washrooms if one raises their voice. But when they plan to escape, the sisters get closer to catch their dream but is too far to hold on it as it slips from their hands as quickly as it appeared for them. The events that will take place after is sad and heartbreaking on every level possible.

Directed by Bryan Buckley, “Saria” reminds us how vulnerable the minorities are when they’re being enslaved by the system when there is no one to look after them while those in power take every advantage of them, both mentally and physically. As the heroes of “Saria” must face the hardship of life that should have been better than it was, the closing title reminds us of what really happened back in 2017 and revealed the number of deaths at the orphanage that should have protected those who had nowhere to go. And to deal with the fact that watching the film does not help, but necessary to remember once again that justice is never meant to be served to those who write those articles.

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