La Llorona

Institute History

  • 2020 Sundance Film Festival


Jayro Bustamante’s haunting third feature, a richly layered political horror film, won the top prize at its Venice Days premiere and has gone on to captivate festival audiences worldwide.

Indignant retired general Enrique finally faces trial for the genocidal massacre of thousands of Mayans decades ago. As a horde of angry protestors threatens to invade their opulent home, the women of the house—his haughty wife, conflicted daughter, and precocious granddaughter—weigh their responsibility to shield the erratic, senile Enrique against the devastating truths being publicly revealed and the increasing sense that a wrathful supernatural force is targeting them for his crimes. Meanwhile, much of the family’s domestic staff flees, leaving only loyal housekeeper Valeriana until a mysterious young Indigenous maid arrives.

Bustamante boldly re-interprets the Latin American folktale of “La Llorona,” a weeping woman doomed to haunt the earth mourning her dead children, embedding it within a powerful account of Guatemalans’ struggle to account for their country’s not-so-distant history. The visually eerie, ominously scored La Llorona brings a tragic realism to the horror genre and creates a spellbinding cinematic experience.

— H.Z.

Screening Details

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