El Inmortal

Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


Although this is only her second feature-length documentary, Mercedes Moncada Rodríguez has already established a singular style and an empathetic, near-mythic approach to storytelling—a nonlinear system of spiritual circularity reflecting her subject's view of the universe and fate.

Civil wars split nations, but they split families as well. El Inmortal takes us to the Nicaraguan countryside, into the shattered world of the Rivera family, whose twin brothers through a twist of fate fought on opposite sides of the Contra war. The fractured nature of memory is mirrored in Moncada Rodríguez's use of collective and individual reminiscences, her unique visual approach to her subject matter, and the marriage of cinematic style and heart.

How does a family—or a country—recover from the ravages of war? In many ways: some sacred, some profane, sometimes a synthesis of both. The "Inmortal" of the title, for instance, is an ominous evangelical bus traveling through Nicaragua, offering simplified theology and hollow redemption to a people hungry for something to give reason to madness. Using the bus as a rolling metaphor, Moncada Rodríguez's poetic story of a simple family devastated by war transcends locality and conflict, embracing both the weaknesses and strengths of humanity itself.

— Diane Weyermann

Screening Details

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