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Suspended between life and death, a Mexican American mother explores uncertainty through dance.


Foreign Puzzle is an intimate documentary that captures the journey of an inspiring Mexican American dancer as she communicates the impermanence of life through dance while juggling the roles of a recently divorced parent of a 6-year-old, a choreographer and a primary school teacher amidst intensive treatments for breast cancer.

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Kay Hogan Smith

University of Alabama at Birmingham,
Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences

"Her struggle to come to terms with uncertainty and impermanence is examined in heartbreaking clarity in a lovely film that stands out among the more common health documentaries.

Highly recommended."

Director's Statement

Foreign Puzzle unravels the cancer experience for health care providers and the family. It raises awareness about the decimation one continues to experience: physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially.


The sheer resilience to put aside her pain and push through insurmountable hurdles to create a beautiful, and honest dance that embodies the brutality of the disease and the beauty of the human spirit will move and inspire every viewer.

It helps oncologists, nurses, psychologists, social workers, caregivers, family, and friends see a perspective about patient life that is rarely shown to them.

"Foreign Puzzle is one of the most powerful and potentially most influential films that I’ve ever seen that could be used as an educational film in schools for social work and other helping professions across the country and internationally."

Elizabeth C. Pomeroy, Ph.D., LCSW

Professor, School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin


"We screened the film in my documentary production class with Chithra as a guest filmmaker. The portrait is an ideal case study for discussing ethics, negotiating access, and subject representation."

Rea Tajiri

Associate Professor,
School of Theater, Film and Media Arts


Foreign Puzzle is about the sacred act of dancing, in the midst of crisis. It is about the sacredness of human relationships.

Cara Hagan

Associate Professor, Dance Studies,
Appalachian State University

Thank you for making this film happen.

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