The pregnant Colombian 17 year old in 2004’s “Maria Full of Grace,” which will screen tomorrow at the Michigan Theatre is nothing if not bold. Her route to a better life is paved with the gravest possible health and political dangers – the route of Colombian heroin trafficking into the United States.

Morgan Morel
“Mmmmm Altoids.” (Courtesy of Fine Line)

Maria (newcomer Catalina Sandino Moreno) grudgingly helps to support her sister’s baby and other family members with a mindless job, dethorning roses in rural Colombia, until her employer’s debasing treatment finally propels her to seek work in Bogota. The most lucrative prospect is an offer of about $5,000 – to swallow more than 60 grape-sized heroin pellets and transport them to New York City in her stomach. After speaking to another drug mule (a veteran, having survived just two previous trips), Maria and a tagalong friend from home accept the offer, risking both imprisonment and the heroin packets lethally breaking inside their bodies.

The story of the three young women completing their mission becomes a sort of narrative expos

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