The Silence of Neto (El Silencio de Neto)

Director: Luis Argueta
Screenwriters: Luis Argueta, Justo Chang

Institute History

  • 1995 Sundance Film Festival


The Silence of Neto, a strong directorial debut by Luis Argueta, is the first feature film ever made in Guatemala. It tells the poignant story of a Guatemalan boy coming of age at a crucial moment in his country’s history. In 1954, the year Neto turns eleven, a CIA-sponsored invasion ovethrows the democratically elected government of his country.

The film gravitates around Neto’s relationship with his uncle, Ernesto, who gives him his first traditional paper hot-air balloons that only “grown-ups” can launch. Through a simple story, strong characters, and a fluid narrative, The Silence of Neto chronicles its young hero’s passage into adolescence with its universal experiences and feelings. The result is a movie told with tenderness and heart that paints a portrait of a country we’ve never seen before. This film is a definite “must see.”

— Patricia Cardoso Mantilla

Screening Details

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