Jennifer Lopez brought “Bordertown,” in which she plays a reporter trying to solve multiple killings of women in a Mexican border city, to the Berlin film festival Thursday and said the role had been a life-changing experience.
The movie, directed by Gregory Nava, aims to focus attention on killings around Ciudad Juarez over the past 14 years.
“I really couldn’t believe this was going on, and the more I found out about it and the more real it became to me, I really felt like it came to me for a reason,” Lopez, 38, said at a news conference, adding that she felt a “responsibility to do something.”
“It changed my life a lot — it changed the way I think,” she said.
Lopez stars as a fictional American reporter who becomes increasingly caught up in searching for the attackers of a young Indian woman who is raped, strangled and left for dead. Antonio Banderas stars as Lopez’s ex-lover, who is now a local newspaper editor.
Amnesty International, which honored Lopez for her role ahead of Thursday’s premiere, puts the number of women and girls killed around Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua since 1993 — many after being kidnapped and raped — at more than 400.
Mexican authorities say more than 350 women have been killed since 1993 in Juarez, a city of about 1.3 million people across the border from El Paso, Texas.
But they say only about 100 of those slayings appear to fit a pattern in which young women were sexually assaulted, strangled and dumped in the surrounding desert. They say the rest of the women were killed in crimes of passion, accidents or robberies and other crimes.
Much of the movie — one of 22 competing for the Berlin festival’s top Golden Bear award — was shot in and around Albuquerque, N.M., as well as in the Mexican border town of Nogales.
Nava, a native of San Diego, said it was “too dangerous” to take Lopez, Banderas and the main crew to Ciudad Juarez.