‘Illegal Woman’ Summary & Analysis – No Human is Illegal


Illegal Woman (La Dona il·legal in Spanish) represents a life spent in the service of others. A confused and afraid protagonist is minutely hinted at by his ill wife, “You have to die of something.” The phrase empowers the weak, hinting towards an inevitable truth, that one day we all have to leave. Then, why should the fear of losing life should be a hurdle in accomplishing an objective?

The film is a journey that follows its underdog protagonist, Fernando Vila, a lawyer who helps to stop adversities against immigrants. It’s the story of his external struggles while facing his own inhibitions.

‘Illegal Woman’ Summary

Fernando Vila (Daniel Faraldo) is a Spanish Immigration lawyer who arranges documents and Visas for his clients, mostly comprising of foreigners from third-world countries. His long-time colleague Carla offers him a job to represent a Kosovan prostitute named Zita Krasniqi. She wanted to give up prostitution and start a new life with her boyfriend, but authorities have put her on trial, labeling her as an illegal immigrant woman. Fernando’s job is to stop her deportation.

Fernando has been hesitant in taking legal cases because of his wife’s deteriorating health who is suffering from a cancerous tumor and has a short time to live. Fernando represents Zita in court. The court, however, announces detention in the CIE (Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros) immigration center, until the case is resolved. The next day, Zita is found dead in her cell.

The authorities claim that she hanged herself. But Fernando wasn’t able to digest their lies. He investigated further and found out that she was brutally beaten in CIE. Even her boyfriend, Bakary was murdered on the road. Another girl named Juliet who was both Fernando’s client and Zita’s friend from the prostitute club, helped Fernando to fill the missing links. He wasn’t able to save Zita, but Juliet is his second chance to die without guilt. However, the web is too tangled and he is in the ring with the vilest of men.

No Human Being is Illegal

At different intervals, the film injects current affairs vocalized through background news recitations. A common theme was Trump’s decision against immigrants and savage treatment against them. While the film is based in Spain, it doesn’t shy away from capturing a global conflict. A news byte even expressed that immigrants were detained in camps so that they could be bombed. Europe is funding armed groups in Libya so that the bombings could be triggered. But Why?

Americans once imported Africans, Chinese and Japanese as slaves, to do the field work for them. When a group of these slaves settled in America itself and called it their home, the white’s got scared. Europe, America’s counterpart, has always taken pride in being a natio that colonized the world. The truth is, they exploited these lands, turning them into eroded third world countries. Neither labour, nor resources were left to sustain. The majority shifted to European nations to find shelter, job and food, something their colonised rulers promised. The film makes a comment on every such monarchy.

In Fernando’s case, CIE immigrants were brutally beaten inside the detention centers, killing many of them. The police and CIE authorities took an active interest in these manslaughter cases but no one ever raised a finger. It’s where the underdog arrives. Zita’s murder filled Fernando with remorse. The burden crushed him down. It is when his wife convinced him that, sooner or later, One has to die of something. Saving illegal women became Fernando’s cause.

Illegal Woman might not be a perfectly made film but is an extremely important film. If you are comfortable watching a Spanish film with English subtitles, then do not miss this important film.

Read More ‘Illegal Woman’ Ending, Explained – Did Fernando stop CIE?

Illegal Woman (La Dona il·legal) is a 2020 Crime Drama film directed by Ramon Térmens.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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