In the remote village of El Echo that exists outside of time, the children care for the sheep and their elders.
While the frost and drought punish the land, they learn to understand death, illness and love with each act, word and silence of their parents. A story about the echo of what clings to the soul, about the certainty of shelter provided by those around us, about rebellion and vertigo in the face of life. About growing up.
Mexican-Salvadoran filmmaker Tatiana Huezo gained an international reputation with her feature debut, The Tiniest Place (2011), which screened at more than 80 international festivals.
Her work has been widely recognized around the world and acknowledged by the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences with eight Ariel awards; among them Best Documentary and Best Director for Tempestad, which premiered in the 66th Berlinale Forum; as well as Best Film for Prayers for the Stolen, which premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes Film Festival, where it received a special mention from the jury.
Tempestad and Prayers for the Stolen were both selected by the Mexican Academy to represent Mexico in the Academy Awards and the Goya Awards; for the latter they received the nomination in the category of Best Iberoamerican film in 2018 and 2022 respectively.
Her most recent film, Prayers for the Stolen, has had a successful festival run and was nominated for the 37th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards as well as the DGA Awards in the category of best director. It was also shortlisted for Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards in 2021.
Tatiana graduated from the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC) and has a Master Degree in Creative Documentary from the Universidad Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.
She has given conferences and taught classes in academic spaces like La Escuela de Cine de la Comunidad in Madrid, École cantonale d'art de Lausanne, University of California Santa Barbara, The Green House in Israel as well as the CCC, among others. Her academic activities also include editing the book “El Viaje, rutas y caminos andados para llegar a otro planeta” produced by the “CCC” and DocumentaMadrid.
Selected director's filmography:
2021 Prayers for the Stolen (Noche de Fuego)
2016 Tempestad (Tempestad)
2015 Absences (Ausencias)
2015 The empty classroom (El aula vacía)
2011 The Tiniest Place (El lugar más pequeño)
2005 Family Portrait (Retrato de Familia)
2001 The Core of the Earth (El Ombligo del Mundo)
1997 Caustic Time (Tiempo Cáustico)
comments of the director
“This film arose from the need to continue exploring the territory of childhood; from the desire to search for an image or a sensation, seen through the eyes of a child, which would reveal to me how we perceive the first moments of solitude and distress in the face of life’s harshness.
I decided to explore a rural universe because the children are prepared for the adult world too early. With this aim, I began to search for children in rural schools. After weeks of visiting different communities in Mexico, I arrived in El Eco, a tiny village where the increasingly extreme climate and living conditions frame the existence of the adults and children in a severe yet beautiful landscape.
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From the moment I learned the name of the town, I was captivated. No one could tell me why it had this name; when I asked if there was any place where the voice of an echo could be heard, only a girl and an elderly woman whispered to me, as if sharing a forbidden secret: “sometimes the stones speak to us…”, “the wind carries our voices from the hills, that’s why they say you should watch what you say…”
Immediately I perceived strong elements in the physical and symbolic space to narratively construct the pure and mysterious gaze of the children that I wished to capture.
I was excited to imagine the visual, sonic and narrative possibilities to tell this story, where “The Echo”, in addition to being the film’s title, would be a metaphorical element that speaks to the way of life in this rural and remote community that possesses deep ancestral knowledge.
This story speaks of the echo that parents leave in their children, of that voice that clings to the soul during the formative years and remains forever. Children learn how to understand death, illness and love with each act, word and silence of their parents.
The children of El Eco assume responsibility for the care of the land and animals from a young age. They understand what the death of a sheep, a frost in the cornfields or a prolonged drought means for their lives. They also recognize their parents’ satisfaction when the strenuous effort of cultivating the land yields a harvest of sweet corn. The emotions and personal difficulties these children face are permeated by the natural world.
The consciousness that rural children possess, that in the earth all life exists, definitively molds their vision of the world, their games and their souls.
It is in this place that I fell in love with the faces of these children with their weathered adult skin and their lively and beautiful eyes. Their gaze carried the hidden things I once believed in as well as traces of the pain that is to come, sometimes too soon. The story is told from here, from those moments that make you conscious of who you are and the world that you inhabit.
This film challenged me to tell a story where we can see the extraordinary in the ordinary. I trust in cinema to reveal that a face can be infinite, that the anodyne fields hide marvelous changes in light; and that the feeling of the adventure of what it means to grow up can be shared.”
Montserrat Hernández Hernández
Luz María Vázquez González
as Luz Ma
Sarahí Rojas Hernández
María de los Ángeles Pacheco Tapia
as Abuela Angeles
Director: Tatiana Huezo
Writer: Tatiana Huezo
Director of Photography: Ernesto Pardo
Sound Recordist: Martin de Torcy
Post Producer: Marco Hernández Calvo
Editing: Lucrecia Gutiérrez (AMEE), Tatiana Huezo
Composers: Leonardo Heiblum, Jacobo Lieberman
Sound Design: Lena Esquenazi
Sound Mix: Jaime Baksht, CAS, Michellee Couttolenc, CAS
Production Manager: Viviana Zúñiga Rojas, Chrystian Moreno Keymolen
Co-producers: Viola Fügen, Michael Weber, Doris Hepp
Executive Producer: Maya Scherr-Willson
Producers: Tatiana Huezo, Dalia Reyes
Original title: EL ECO
International title: THE ECHO
Duration: 102 min
Aspect Ratio: 1.89:1
Original language: Spanish
Countries of production: Mexico, Germany
Production Company: Radiola films
Co-production Companies: THE MATCH FACTORY, ZDF Zweites Deutsches Fersehen
With the support of: INSTITUTO MEXICANO DE CINEMATOGRAFÍA THROUGH THE PROGRAM: FOCINE, ZDF/arte, Film und Medienstiftung NRW, IDFA Bertha Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures