Is Lost in the Night Inspired by a True Story?

Within its drama-driven crime storyline, the Mexican film, ‘Lost in the Night’ (Originally titled ‘Perdidos en la Noche’) charts a tale ripe with mystery, guilt, moral quandaries, and corruption. These elements bloom harmoniously under protagonist Emiliano’s narrative as he attempts to unveil the truth behind his activist mother, Paloma’s years-long missing person case. Pointed in the right direction by fate, the boy finds himself employed at the matriarch Carmen’s Aldama residence— a Villa with many secrets to keep. Thus, as Emiliano and his girlfriend, Jazmin, grow closer to the wealthy family, the latter’s past connection with Palmola’s protests comes out in the open.

The film blends complementary drama, thriller, and crime genres into one storyline to present a grounded tale about a son’s desperate search for his mother. Consequently, with socio-economic themes at play, the film compels the audience to wonder if its story harvests any significant events or people from a true story.

Lost in the Night: A Fictional Tale With Ties to Guanajuato, Mexico

No, the events that transpire in ‘Lost in the Night’ are not based on a true story. The film charts a fictional narrative penned by brothers Amat Escalante and Martín Escalante, the former of whom also helms the project as the director. Initially, Director Amat Escalante began writing the script with his brother during the COVID-19 pandemic’s beginning.

During the time, Amat Escalante was also reading up on a lot of classic novels that dealt with universal narratives like moral dilemmas and guilt. Thus, his film’s script ended up taking a similar route, crafted for the sake of exploration of such themes. Through the same, a base premise for the film emerged of a plot revolving around a son’s battle to bring justice to his mother’s memory when the corrupted law has given up on the same.

Furthermore, Emiliano’s narrative retains a sense of realism that allows the film to delve into socially relevant themes of class disparity, power exploitation through wealth, and their consequences. As such, the story’s grounded themes end up informing much of its authenticity.

However, the film’s geographical backdrop remains a significant unnamed aspect of the film. The corruption, crime, and public unrest that remain within the town directly pave the way for several key plot points, such as Paloma’s inciting kidnapping, gang wars, and class exploitation within a mining community. For the same, Director Escalante drew inspiration from real life, namely the Mexican city of Guanajuato.

When speaking about the same at a press conference, Escalante went into detail about the film’s instrumental context within Guanajuato. Citing the city where he writes a lot, the director shared how the terrain, people, and everyday life within the city remain a source of inspiration for him. Moreover, the issue of missing people is a crucial social problem that the Guanajuato community faces.

However, since Escalante didn’t set up the film’s barebones around the concept, he didn’t wish to mold the entire narrative around it, unwilling to portray it in a superficial manner. Nevertheless, he incorporated it into his story through the minor character of Emiliano’s sister. Furthermore, filmmaker/documentarian Daniela Rea, a Guanajuato resident, helped Escalante as an advisor, particularly around these topics. In real life, Guanajuato is often dubbed as one of the most violent Mexican cities.

In fact, earlier this year, several women from Guanajuato saw violent murder at the hands of a suspected criminal gang. Furthermore, the theme of search parties for relatives remains consistent across the country. According to The Guardian, the population of Desaparecidos— people who have gone missing or presumed dead with assumptions of police involvement— was considered to be around forty thousand in 2019.

Therefore, the inciting event within the film— Paloma’s disappearance finds a direct, if intentionally unexplored, connection with reality. However, the details surrounding her character and plot points remain fictional elements without any real-life counterparts. Moreover, the narrative prioritizes Emiliona’s storyline as a thematic journey full of thrilling adventure and danger. Thus, while the film remains significantly informed by the social themes of Guanajuato City, the narrative itself remains confined to functionality.

Read More: Lost in the Night Ending, Explained