By Ana Lucía CUEVAS


Documentary - Completed 2012

In ‘The Echo of Pain’ we witness a rare documentary by a Latin American woman, recording her return from exile and into the volatile contemporary Guatemala,where over the course of four years, Ana Lucia discovers the involvement of her own government in the murder of her brother and his young family

    • Year of production
    • 2012
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Duration
    • 93 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Ana Lucía CUEVAS
    • Writer(s)
    • Ana Lucía CUEVAS
    • Producer(s)
    • Ana Lucía CUEVAS (Armadillo Productions), Fred COKER (Armadillo Productions)
    • Synopsis
    • In 2008, on one of her frequent searches on the Internet for news about Guatemala, always with the hope of finding news about her brother Carlos, Ana Lucía Cuevas finds, almost by accident, that a secret Police archive has been discovered in Guatemala City.
      Ana Lucía, who in February 1984 was forced into political exile with mother and younger sister, decides to return to Guatemala in search of information about her brother Carlos, who in May 1984 had been ‘disappeared’ by the Security forces of the state.
      Produced and recorded over the course of four years, this powerful film is a rare example of a feature-length documentary both scripted and directed by a Latin American woman, and documents her journey of return.
      On her way to Guatemala, in Boston (USA), Ana Lucía explores the recent history of Guatemala in informal conversation with the renown political analyst and professor Emeritus (MIT), Noam Chomsky.
      In New York, Senior Analyst at the National Security Archive Kate Doyle explains, based on de-classified US Government documents, the role that the CIA played before and throughout Guatemala’s 36-year ‘internal’ armed conflict.
      With Kate, Ana Lucia also explores the history and content of a unique Guatemalan military intelligence document, known as ‘the Military Diary.’ It’s in this horrific document that the director finds information out the ultimate and tragic destiny of her brother Carlos.
      From Costa Rica, where Ana Lucia’s mother has lived in exile since early 1984, the documentary reveals the incredible history of Rosario Godoy de Cuevas, Carlos’ wife. Months after a vigorous campaign seeking his release, during Holy Week 1985, Rosario is kidnapped, tortured and assassinated along with her younger brother and her 2-year old son, Augusto Rafael.
      In Guatemala, alongside recording her search for information, Ana Lucia portrays a contemporary political-military conflict through the personal experiences of her family, and of those whom she meets along her travels. It is through these personal stories that we learn the magnitude and horrific character of the crimes against humanity that were perpetrated in her country.
      And what is so moving, and unique, about ‘The Echo,’ is this personal approach. In the course of intimate conversations with other ‘survivors’ during exhumations of mass graves, at genocide trials of the military, or simply in a local park, Ana Lucia explores the role of both memory, and trauma, joining together the pieces of a shattered past.
      The film’s director has set out in search of the fate of the disappeared, not only in respect to criminal acts that needed to be investigated and sanctioned in a court of law, but also because upon the disappeared have left a profound absence in the lives of those who remain behind. Whilst all those who share their horrific stories are in doing so ‘re-living’ the suffering experienced during the conflict, they volunteer to do so in the hope that a true representation of the past is the best hope that it will not be repeated again in the future.
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