You may have heard references to "The Weeping Woman" in Latin American folklore, also known as La Llorona. It refers to the legend of a ghost who mourns the death of her children for which she was responsible. Following the folklore, filmmakers have been bringing the legend to life in movies and creating their own interpretation of La Llorona. On this day in Hispanic Heritage Month, we're highlighting the most popular film from those that have attempted to illustrate the mythos, 2019's "La Llorona."
This flick reimagines the legend that is La Llorona and places her in a home to haunt a former Guatemalan dictator named Enrique Monteverde. The focus of the film is around the trial of this dictator. He's been charged with leading the genocide of native Mayans in 1982. By the time we meet him, he's already an old man. He's answering for crimes from many years ago that he claims he never committed. Countless indigenous women describe how they were brutalized by his army. Because there isn't sufficient evidence to support their claims, the verdict is overturned.
Many of the alleged victims and protesters are upset that he won't be convicted. Enrique lives with his wife, daughter, granddaughter, and their security guard. The public begins protesting at all hours of the day outside their home. But that'll be the least of their worries. As Enrique tries his best to sleep, he's awakened because he hears a woman crying. However, there's no woman to be found. And because their house is surrounded by protesters, they're essentially trapped inside the house with the weeping spirit.
Hispanic Heritage Month Connections
Director Jayro Bustamente grew up in Guatemala watching movies in a cafe because there wasn't a theater where he lived. He later moved to Europe to study film and attended school in France. His schooling had a major influence on his style of film, which focuses primarily on socially conscious themes. The filmmaker focuses on both the psychological and physical horror that people might experience in a real situation.
This film specifically centers around the Mayan-Ixil of Guatemala that were subject to a terrible genocide that was led by the government during the Guatemalan Civil War. Bustamente uses his horror film to shine a light on the real horror of those events. And he incorporates the psychological aspect by using the real legend of La Llorona.
Why You Should See It
There have been other films that have tried to capture the fear that La Llorona might instill. But they've done so in an over-the-top way that actually diminishes the myth. What this film does differently is it layers in the tragic genocide of the Ixil Community with a less exaggerated version of the fabled weeping woman. The blending of genres makes this anything but traditional when it comes to what genre audiences expect from a horror movie. Check out the trailer for "La Llorona" below.
Did You Know
"La Llorona" was the first ever Guatemalan film to receive a nomination for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. It was also the official submission of Guatemala for Best International Feature Film of the 93rd Academy Awards.
Jesse is a writer and content manager for Noovie. When he's not working, he's on the beach playing volleyball.