Jayro Bustamante: “Latin America needs a catharsis in the face of oppressors and dictatorships”



Emiliano Castro Saenz

Guatemala City, Aug 18 (EFE) .- The film “La Llorona”, with 11 nominations, is the most acclaimed film at the Platino Awards for Ibero-American Cinema and Audiovisual 2021 along with the Colombian production “The forgetfulness that we will be”. which implies a recognition of a lot of “value” for its director, the Guatemalan Jayro Busdamente.

“It is a very nice thing,” Bustamente assured the Efe agency in an interview about the awards, since “it is the (film) industry itself that gives value” to the awards.

The nominations were announced on July 19, with “La Llorona” as the favorite along with the Colombian production “El Olvido que serremos” for the awards for best Latin American film and best director of the region, in addition to nine other categories.

The 8th edition of the Platinum Ibero-American Film and Audiovisual Awards ceremony will take place on October 3 in Madrid, Spain, and will be broadcast by 19 televisions around the world.


Bustamante, 44, narrated that with “La Llorona” (2019) he tried “to make a film that was like a ritual of catharsis” and believes that “all of Latin America, including Spain, needs that catharsis in the face of those oppressive systems and those dictators they have humanely screwed us up so much ”.

For the Guatemalan film director, the oppression and dictatorships of the previous century in most countries of the region left a scar “on the families that were destroyed.”

In “La Llorona”, Bustamante mixes the Mesoamerican legend of a woman looking for her lost children with the Ixil genocide, committed by the State of Guatemala in the 1980s, in the north of the country, where the military sought to exterminate the population indigenous people with the murder of more than 1,700 people, in the cruelest time of the internal armed conflict (1960-1996).

“Fuck (because) they made us believe that what they did was good and if you realize it, in Guatemala many of the people continue to defend that, without realizing that by defending it they lose their humanity,” Bustamante reiterates.

The film director emphasizes that power has managed to “wash people’s heads so that they believe that thinking about hurting someone can be accepted under” a political regime.

“That seems very impressive to me and I think that what happens is that all of Latin America is faced with that same need and that same catharsis,” said the also screenwriter, whose film “La Llorona” won nominations for the Goya awards in Spain and the Golden Globes in the United States, two unprecedented events for Guatemala.


Bustamante has put the name of his country on the main screens of the world three times with his trilogy of films, which refer to the main insults to be reversed in Guatemala: Indian, ‘hollow’ (for homosexual) and communist, represented in “Ixcanul ”(2015),“ Tremors ”(2019) and“ La Llorona ”(2019).

Among the three films, Bustamante has accumulated hundreds of nominations and almost 80 international awards, 23 of them with “La Llorona”, a film produced by French-Guatemalan production that is now seeking to win the Platinum Awards in 2021.

“We started from the basis that ‘La Llorona’ is one of the most widely distributed Mesoamerican legends, because it reaches South America and has even evolved towards misogyny and machismo; that is why it was important to rewrite it and fill it with beauty ”, he maintains.

And in a country as battered as Guatemala, where there was a 36-year armed conflict (1960-1996) between the guerrillas and the Army and their civilian self-defense groups, which left 200,000 dead and 45,000 disappeared, magical realism was necessary ” to imagine justice, and that means we will never have it ”, he laments.

With multiple future projects underway at the same time, mainly that of developing talent with 105 girls and 20 adults training for his next productions, Bustamante is amazed that people in large industries are “surprised” that it can also be done. cinema in Guatemala. “Here it can and has been done”, he celebrates.

“(I am interested in) continuing to show the things that we continue to do wrong, but I am also interested in showing who we are and what our roots are, to see if a little pride and love is born from there, which is what we do not have”, the Guatemalan director concludes.


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