Memories of a Penitent Heart
Cecilia Aldarondo
USA/Puerto Rico 2016, DCP, color and b/w, 74 min., English/Spanish OV w/English ST – Austrian Premiere

Official Selection – Tribeca Film Festival 2016
Special Jury Award for Emotional Honesty – Indie Memphis Film Festival 2016
Winner “Best Documentary” – Austin GL FF 2016

A story of heartbreaking tragedy, of loss and pain and fanaticism.
Most profoundly affecting. Village Voice
Tribeca Doc … tenderly examines a lost life. Village Voice

Memories of a Penitent Heart straddles a lot of divides – between art and social justice, between past and present, between the personal and the global. I’m making this film because I see the story of what happened in my family as a cautionary tale; there are thousands of similar stories buried across the world. I want viewers to see that bigotry doesn’t always look like a hate crime: often, it looks like blind love. Cecilia Aldarondo

Twenty-five years after Miguel died from AIDS, his niece, filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo, embarks on an excavation into a quagmire of unresolved family drama. Like many gay men in the 1980s, Miguel moved from Puerto Rico to New York City; he found a career in theater and a rewarding relationship. Yet, on his deathbed he grappled to reconcile his homosexuality with his Catholic upbringing. Now, decades after his death, Cecilia locates Miguel’s lover Robert, who has been shunned and demonized by the family, in order to understand the whole story. Braiding recently discovered home movies, interviews, and contemporary verité footage, Memories of a Penitent Heart dissects a family secret while exploring the AIDS crisis and the rarely heard story of Latino artists who died in the early days of the epidemic. This is a moving story about mistakes of the past and second chances that also questions how faith is used in times of crisis. (Dan Hunt, Tribeca Film Festival 2016)

Cecilia Aldarondo
is one of “FILMMAKER” Magazine's “25 New Faces of Independent Film” of 2015. Her directorial debut Memories of a Penitent Heart received support from the MacDowell Colony, Sundance Institute, IFP, Jerome Foundation, Firelight Media and NYSCA among others. She is Assistant Professor of Film at Skidmore College.

06/17 6:00 PM / Metro Kino Historischer Saal

Cecilia Aldarondo

Written by: Cecilia Aldarondo.
Edited by: Hannah Buck.
Director of Photography: Brennan Vance.
Music: Angélica Negrón.
Produced by: Cecilia Aldarondo, Patricia Benabe.
Executive Producer: Esther Robinson.