A still from ‘The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future’

Five Films Directed By Latin American Women To See In 2023

By 08 March, 2023

To celebrate International Women’s Day we’ve put together a brief list of five must-see films directed by Latin American women for 2023. From an intimate study of a rural Mexican community, to a genre-bending Chilean fable with futuristic elements, and an Argentine riddle of interlocked mysteries, to a heart-rending love story set in Chile, and a Mexican Western told from the point of view of an underprivileged woman, these five films directed by five Latin American women should be on everyone’s radar this year.   Already accumulating awards and winning international recognition for these directors, the list offers just a snapshot of the many extraordinary women filmmakers in Latin America working today and hopefully will be added to as 2023 continues. Happy viewing!

The Echo – Tatiana Huezo (El eco, Mexico, Germany, 2023)

Fresh from its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival last month, The Echo sees Mexican-Salvadoran director Tatiana Huezo return to the documentary feature (her third following previous docs Tempestad and The Tiniest Place). Set in El Echo, an isolated village in the Mexican state of Puebla, the film presents a rural family portrait that could also be mistaken for fiction. Huezo’s last film, Prayers for the Stolen, which saw her narrative debut, secured her an Oscar-nomination in its tender and heart-breaking portrayal of a Mexican girlhood. The Echo does the same, with its focus once again on one teenage girl’s hopes and aspirations, while at the same time asserting that her place in the community depends on her ability to fulfill her responsibilities. 

Where to watch: UK release TBC 

The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future – Francisca Alegria (La vaca que canto una cancion hacia el futuro, Chile, France, USA, Germany, 2022)

Chilean filmmaker Francisca Alegria’s debut feature is a futuristic magical realist fable with an environmental message. When thousands of fish die in a polluted river in Southern Chile, Magdalena, a woman whose unexplained death still haunts her family, rises up from amongst their lifeless bodies in the water. Her reappearance sets off a chain of events that will force her family to confront their internal conflicts and reassess their relationship to the natural world around them. Alegria’s short film And The Whole Sky Fit Into The Dead Cow’s Eye won Best International Fiction Short Film at Sundance in 2007 and her new feature was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at Sundance this year. Since then, Alegria has been selected by the Sundance Institute to take part in their fifth annual Momentum Fellowship, a program designed to support artists during a pivotal moment in their creative practice. 

Where to watch: The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future will be arriving into UK cinemas on 24th March 2023.

Trenque Lauquen – Laura Citarella (Argentina, Germany, 2022)

Trenque Lauquen – which takes its name from the Argentine city in the province of Buenos Aires – has been picking up numerous international awards, including four International Cinephile Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (shared with Albert Serra for Pacifiction), Best Screenplay and Best Ensemble Cast. The four-hour saga, told across two films, follows two men who take to the road in search of Laura, a woman they both love, whose strange disappearance six months after moving to the city has prompted them to find her.  A long-time collaborator with Argentine director Mariano Llinias and a producer for his epic film La Flor, in Trenque Lauquen the viewer is led into a rabbit hole of interlocked romantic, biological and ecological mysteries, cementing Citarella’s reputation as one of Argentina’s most distinctive and enigmatic filmmakers. 

Where to watch: UK release TBC

The Eternal Memory – Maite Alberdi (La memoria infinita, Chile, 2023)

Chilean director Maite Alberdi’s previous documentary, The Mole Agent, gained her an Oscar-nomination in its captivating portrayal of a seemingly guileless octogenarian who is recruited to spy on the goings on in nursing home in Chile by the family of one of its residents. Her new film, The Eternal Memory continues its exploration of old age but this time centres on the relationship between Augusto and Paulina who have been together for 25 years, and observes how the couple have evolved since Augusto was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his wife became his caretaker. The film won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Documentary Competition earlier this year at Sundance where it was snapped up by MTV Documentary Films.  

Where to watch: The Eternal Memory will be released in the UK in 2023. 

Northern Skies Over Empty Space – Alejandra Marquez Abella (El norte sobre el vacio, Mexico, 2022)

The third feature from Mexican director Alejandra Marquez Abello is a Western set on a Mexican ranch. Don Reynaldo is a famous hunter in decline. When his ranch and his father’s legacy are threatened, his relationship with his family, his employees and the land will be dangerously shaken. Marquez Abello has written and directed for TV for more than a decade including directing two episodes of the Narcos: Mexico series.  In Northern Skies Over Empty Space she offers a new perspective on toxic masculinity by observing the men’s fragility through the viewpoint of an unprivileged woman. 

Where to watch: Northern Skies Over Empty Space is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.  

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