June 16, 2007
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Remedios is la curandera, a healer. She knows the town’s stories, and the sea is witness to those stories. El pico, the swordfish beak, tells her the drowned body will wash up on this part of the shore. 2. Candelario Marroquín
Cande celebrates his promotion to salad-maker by painting his door his favorite color, blue. He works at a restaurant in Santiago owned by Don Gustavo del Norte. Don Gustavo has taught him to make Caesar salad, hoping the restaurant will become famous for it. His 19-year-old wife, Chayo, and her 15-year-old sister, Marta, arrive. Marta was raped by Roberto Ramos and wants an abortion from the visiting doctor from Guadalajara. Luz told her it costs 100,000 pesos. Chayo hasn’t been able to have children, so without thinking, Cande says he’ll raise the baby. As a man, he can’t take his word back. Months later, Chayo has a nightmare about throwing the flowers she makes to sea. Cande makes salad for the doctor and his wife at don Gustavo’s. The doctor says the abortions he does aren’t illegal because they have good causes, like rape. He charges 20,000 pesos. They don’t like the salad, so don Gustavo blames and fires Cande. 3. Remedios Elementales: Tierra
In Remedios’s hut on top of a hill sits la mesa santa, an altar, with relics from earth and sea, and statues. Remedios chants, “I am she who knows.” 4. Fulgencio Llanos
Fulgencio, el fotógrapho, roams the Mexican countryside, taking pictures. He misses the bus because he’d spent too much time cajoling doña Elvira Cantos. Yesterday, he’d photographed the famed masked wrestler El Santo without his mask, and plans to sell the photos to La Tribuna and become famous. He goes into a cantina for a drink when a hippie gringo, Jaime, offers him a ride. They leave in his Ford station wagon, filled with merchandise. Fulgencio offers to photograph the amphibian mariachi band. The gringo takes a detour to the beach at Playa de Oro. As night falls, Fulgencio realizes the gringo’s going to rob him and tries to bargain with God. At the beach, the gringo gets out. He returns just as Fulgencio is reaching for a machete in the back. The gringo throws him out and drives off with his valise. Fulgencio’s hopes are ruined without the pictures of El Santo. As he walks, he finds his valise intact by the road, and realizes the gringo was terrified of him. 5. Marta Rodriguez
Marta, la recamerera, cleans a room at the hotel. She sees Elizabeth Taylor, her favorite actress, in Life magazine, on the table. She plans to give her baby to Chayo and has been saving money to leave and find work in El Paso, where she’ll live in luxury. Luz Gamboa comes in to help. Her husband, Tito, has run off with Tula Fuentes to El Paso, and she’s enlisted Remedios’s charms to bring him back. She thinks Tula had el brujo put a spell on Tito. Marta goes to help Chayo make flowers. Marta’s ashamed of her pregnancy and is the talk of the town. Cande hasn’t found work, so he’s fishing. Chayo says she’s pregnant and that Cande won’t take her baby anymore. Marta goes to talk to Luz, then goes to the apartment she shares with tía Fina and cries. Her neighbor, Don Justo, says Tito has come home. Thinking Remedios has been successful, she goes to see her for the first time. Remedios tells Marta she should not cross the border, and refuses to make Cande change his mind. Marta leaves, angered, to convince Cande. He claims he never said he wouldn’t take her baby—it was Chayo’s idea. Betrayed, Marta finds el brujo, don Pico Lara, who says he will kill the baby. Marta thinks he means her baby, but he means Chayo’s baby. She consents.
6. Remedios Elementales: Fuego
Remedios prepares breakfast, affirming herself. She envisions her spirit flying to release a magpie, urraca, from a cage. The bird tells her it is her own spirit. She feeds her real...