Director’s note zu „The Echo“
comments of the director Tatiana Huezo
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.
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.”