Price: $310.00

    Code: 1863

    Directed by Mary Ellen Davis
    2001, 74 mins.
    French, Spanish and Chuj dialog with English subtitles
    Purchase: $310| Classroom Rental: $125

    In this feature-length documentary, two paths cross on a tortuous descent into Guatemala's tragic past: that of Mateo Pablo, Maya survivor of one of many massacres that took place during the country's recent civil war, and Daniel Hernandez-Salazar, Guatemalan artist and photographer, whose work deals with local human-rights violations.

    Together they travel to a remote site in the highlands where the community of Petanac once stood. Mateo grew up and lived there until 1982, when his family and neighbors were tortured and murdered by the Guatemalan Army, whose soldiers later burned the village to the ground. But memory lingers. At Petanac and other Maya communities across Guatemala, survivors gather to bear witness as forensic experts unearth the mass graves of their loved ones. Once the dirt has been patiently removed by teams of archaeologists, the bones found in clandestine cemeteries tell their own mute story of agony and terror.

    In a series of moving interviews, Mateo and other survivors of the massacre at Petanac bear witness to the slaughter of family members and friends during one of the bloodiest periods in Central American history. Interspersed throughout the film are many of Hernandez-Salazar's photos' compelling meditations on death and the life-affirming forces of hope, desire, longing and resistance that counteract it which have become a symbol of the quest for truth about the atrocities committed in Guatemala.

    Subjects & Collections


    "Haunted Land, nonetheless, is an excellent instrument for courses on Latin American and Human Rights for keeping an important memory alive and raising the critical question: Will Guatemala remain a land haunted by its past and fearful of its future, or will it be able to build a better society with that memory in in mind?"
    The Americas