El General

Director: Natalia Almada


“How do we reconcile the contradictions between our personal family memories and our country’s collective memory?” When filmmaker Natalia Almada asks this question, the answer is her latest film, a tour de force of cinematic imagination bristling with beauty, contradiction, and the epic scope of Mexico’s last 100 years of history.

Stunningly realized, Almada’s filmic meditation is framed as a search through the memory of her grandmother, whose reminiscences revolve around her father, Plutarco Elías Calles, one of Mexico’s most prominent and controversial presidents. A general during the Mexican Revolution and then president from 1924 to 1928, Calles was known both for his deeds as a revolutionary hero and the brutal tactics he employed during his presidency. His life and legacy embody both the promise and betrayal of Mexico’s poignant history.

For Almada, the exploration of her extraordinary personal link to Mexico’s past becomes a lens through which she explores the qualities of cinema that have formed the fulcrum of her artistic practice over her career. Archival and original footage, Hollywood films, and still photographs are woven with original music and meticulously edited audio archives to reveal a hypnotic and deeply compassionate portrait of the Mexican people and the forces that have shaped their country.

(Archives note: see also Natalia Almada: El General on our YouTube Channel.)

— Cara Mertes

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]