Hot Docs Review: La Madrina: The Savage Life of Lorine Padilla (Raquel Cepeda, 2020)


From the outset of La Madrina: The Savage Life of Lorine Padrilla, it seems that the focus of the film might be on the violence and hardships experienced by Padrina during her time as a member of The Savage Skulls gang during the 1970s. Hearing Padrina state bluntly that “I was born with gangsterism is my blood” early on in the film certainly seems to suggest this, though the film doesn’t take too long to head off into a different direction and reveal that it’s about much more than that. As the story develops, we see her journey as she moves from the path of gangsterism towards a life dedicated to activism, finally ending up in her current position as a respected matriarch within her community.

La Madrina presents a deep and surprisingly moving examination of a fascinating life. In telling Lorine Padilla’s story, director Raquel Cepeda is ultimately telling a story on the importance of community and family and the good that can be done by just one person, regardless of where they may have started out.

La Madrina is currently streaming as part of Hot Docs.

Posted on by Paul in Hot Docs