Jayro Bustamente’s politically charged horror film La Llorona, which won the Venice Days sidebar at last year’s Venice Film Festival, is Guatemala’s selection to the 2021 International Oscar race. It’s the second film by Bustamente to get his country’s Oscar submission, after his debut feature Ixcanul in 2015.
His latest film fuses the Latin American Llorona myth and modern reality in an exposé of the genocidal atrocities against the Mayan community in Guatemala. The plot delves into magical realism as it follows Enrique (Julio Diaz), a retired general who oversaw the Mayan genocide and is haunted by his devastating crimes, and possibly a wrathful supernatural force that is targeting him and his family.
Rigoberta Menchú Tum, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and survivor of the atrocities, also appears in the film.
The pic, which had its U.S. bow this year at the Sundance Film Festival ahead of its August 6 premiere on Shudder, currently has a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Guatemala has yet to be nominated for the International Feature Film Oscar.