Scars of Memory: (Cicatriz de la Memoria)

Directed by Jeffrey Gould & Carlos Henriquez Consalvi

53 minutes / Color
English subtitles
Release: 2003
Copyright: 2002

January 22, 1932. An unprecedented peasant uprising erupts in western El Salvador, as a group of Ladino and indigenous peasants cut army supply lines, attack a military garrison, and take control over several towns.

Retribution is swift. After three days, the army and militias move in and, in some villages, slaughter all males over age 12. Elsewhere, they summarily execute anyone suspected of having a link to the Communists. Over the next few weeks, 10,000 people are massacred.

In SCARS OF MEMORY survivors share their memories, many for the first time.

Jeffrey L. Gould (director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Indiana University) and Carlos Henríquez Consalvi (founder of the Museo de la Palabra y la Imágen in El Salvador) recovered and analyzed hundreds of survivor testimonies, which form the basis of the film. They also located rare photographs and film footage housed in archives in El Salvador, the United States, and England; including images of Communist leader Farabundo Martí, local indigenous leader Feliciano Ama of Izalco, and military dictator General Hernández Martínez.

The brutal way in which the uprising was crushed left many too scared to ever participate in politics again. The trauma resonated through six decades of military rule, until the 1992 peace accords ended a brutal, 12-year civil war.

"An excellent historic record." —Film Threat

"A remarkable work, in large part because the descriptions and images of those dark days are entirely new to us; the interviews unfold with an urgency and freshness of tales well remembered but never recounted. There is an immediacy that both horrifies and compels the viewer." —American Historical Review

"An important contribution to the new historical and anthropological research… The testimonials of people who lived through the massacre are what truly set this film apart." —The Journal of Latin American Anthropology

"Scrupulously well-documented... Highly Recommended... for anyone who seeks to understand the social ramifications and extreme sufferings brought about by constant oppression." —Catholic Library World

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A Film by Jeffrey Gould & Carlos Henriquez Consalvi

Select Accolades

  • 2003 Award of Merit in Film, Latin American Studies Association
  • 2003 Festival de FIlm y Video de El Salvador
  • 2003 International Festival for Human Rights (Barcelona)


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