A government spy infiltrates a radical student group in Mexico City in the early ’70s in “Francisca,” a moderately gripping but frustratingly under-developed film. Intriguing plot, in which a former member of the East German secret police, who is trying to start a new life as a teacher in Mexico, is dragooned into the Mexican secret service to spy on his students, is given disappointingly prosaic treatment. This may get some fest bookings, but its potential is unfulfilled.
Bruno (Ulrich Noethen), whose parents were Communists (father German, mother Spanish) arrives in Mexico and is picked up by secret police at the airport. Diaz (Hector Ortega), a smooth but ruthless operator, threatens to deport him again unless he agrees to keep tabs on students suspected of radicalism. Bruno reluctantly agrees, at first feeding trivial information to his minders. But the heat turns up and, though Bruno tries to prevent it, the activist brother (Juan Rios) of his mistress, Adela (Fabiola Campomanes) is assassinated. Some time later, when Bruno and Adela are living in obscurity in a small village, the past catches up with them.