To mark the release of Jayro Bustamante’s political horror film LA LLORONA now on Shudder, a live virtual panel will be held on Wednesday, August 12th at 2:30 pm PT/5:30 pm ET with director Jayro Bustamante, producer Gustavo Matheu, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchu, Country Director of Oxfam Guatemala Ana Maria Mendez Libby, Congresswoman in the Guatemalan Congress Lucrecia Hernández Mack, The Latinx House co-founder Alex Martinez Kondracke, Shudder Director of Programming Samuel Zimmerman, Head Programmer at Mexico’s Morbido Fest Abraham Castillo, and moderated by President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Claudia Puig.
The panel, which will be available to stream via Zoom (oxf.am/lallorona to register), will explore the ways in which the horror genre works as a conduit for social activism, and highlight how LA LLORONA whispers truth on inequality and the human condition while expanding the dialogue about the unconcluded process of reconciliation in Guatemala – which closely mirrors the realities of the United States today.
A tale of horror and magical realism, LA LLORONA reimagines the iconic Latin American fable, a grieving indigenous woman seeking revenge for the death of her children, as an urgent metaphor of Guatemala’s recent civil war which left an estimated hundreds of thousands dead, missing and displaced. The bloodiest period was under the rule of Efraín Ríos Montt, from 1981 to 1983. Today, Central America remains a region hit by violence against indigenous peoples, social movements, and marginalized communities.
LA LLORONA follows indignant retired general Enrique, whose character is inspired by Montt, as he finally faces trial for the genocidal massacre of thousands of Mayans decades ago. As a horde of angry protestors threatens to invade his opulent home, the women of the house—his wife, daughter, and 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.
Following its top award-winning world premiere at Venice Days, the independent competitive section of the 2019 Venice Film Festival, the film played to critical acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, and BFI London Film Festival. LA LLORONA marks Bustamante’s third feature and demonstrates his continued efforts to highlight social inequality in his native Guatemala following his previous titles Temblores (2019) and Ixcanul (2016).
“With LA LLORONA, Jayro Bustamante has crafted a haunting, powerful film that contains within it an urgent call for justice and human rights. We are honored to partner with Oxfam, Ford Foundation, The Latinx House and our distinguished panel to amplify his message and inspire audiences to take action,” said Craig Engler, Shudder’s General Manager.
“LA LLORONA broaches difficult subjects of historical memory, truth and reconciliation, and transitional justice with rigor and empathy. Told in the realm of intimate, interpersonal relationships, it exemplifies the transformative power of storytelling in exposing deeper truths,” said Oxfam Guatemala Country Director, Ana María Mendez Libby. “Oxfam believes in the power of stories to inspire compassion – and action. LA LLORONA not only aligns with Oxfam’s values, but also touches upon drivers of forced migration that constitute our local and global priorities: gender-based violence, human rights and exploitation, corruption and political violence, and gross inequality that is breaking down humanity here, in the US, and throughout much of the world.”