Shady River
PerSo Award

By Tatiana Mazú González
Argentina, 2020, 82’

Wednesday 6th october Cinema Zenith – 19.00
Thursday 7th october Cinema Méliès – 16:15 (replica)

Original title: RÍO TURBIO
Direction, script and photography: Tatiana Mazú González
Production: Florencia Azorín
Editing: Sebastián Zanzottera
Sound design: Julian Galay
Assistant director: Manuel Embalse
Graphic design: Sofia Mazú González
Image postproduction: Daniela Medina Silva
Sound post production: Hernán Higa and Alan Fridman
Producer company: Antes Muerto Cine
Based on conversations with Vanessa, Noelia, Mari, Vanesa, Anita, Lila, Mirta, Margarita, Delfina, Rosa and Carla.

According to the myth still in force in the coal towns of Patagonia, if a woman enters a mine, the earth becomes jealous. Then, there’s collapse and death. Shady River starts from a dark personal experience to transform in a film about the silence of women who live in men’s villages. How to film where our presence is prohibited? How to record the resonances of what doesn’t sound? As the fog and smoke from the power plant cover the town, the voices of the women of Shady River force their way between the white of the ice and the hum of the drilling machines, until blowing up the structure of silence.


Shady River is a mining town in the extreme south of Patagonia founded in the 1940s, when the State decided to exploit the coal deposits. On a personal level, it’s the town that my grandmother paradoxically ran away in search of some kind of freedom. It’s the place where my dad was born, where a large part of my family lives. And punctually, where one of my favorite aunts, and main accomplice in the making of this movie, lives. But it’s also the place where the one who sexually assaulted me for the first time in life, when I was a child, grew up and committed suicide ten years later . And a bit of the initial motivation for making this film is to pull the movement from intimate and personal memories – which in the end never cease to be fragments of history on a large scale – towards the encounter with the women who live daily in that landscape and fight to transform it.

“Shady River” is a film about silence and its ideological condition in those who have known gender violence. On the silence of the women who live in men’s villages and on the possibilities of breaking it. The first materials I started working with were mute: photos, a book, Super8mm films, a 16m roll of a film that was never made and whose sound record was lost. So, this political notion of the silenced was also present from the beginning. When I was trying to think how these materials would sound, the tremendous Patagonian wind appeared as a possibility: a force in itself that doesn’t sound, but that makes vibrations by its power sound. The closest thing to recording the sound of the wind directly is perhaps the saturated interference generated when it hits a microphone capsule.

Shady River began as a poem that interrogated footage materials. Later, I remembered that somewhere there were familiar Super8mm rolls that we sometimes saw projected on a sheet when I was little. And digging further, I came across some MiniDV cassettes that my dad had filmed during a series of union struggles in the mine in the early 2000s. Later, in the editing process I managed to get my aunt to share the VHS of when she was crowned as “Queen of Coal” in the 1980s. Walter Benjamin says something like the past is waiting for the present to redeem it from its oppression. I think there’s something of that also operating in the way we were assembling the footage with contemporary materials and stories.

Tatiana Mazú González

She was born in 1989 in Buenos Aires. She lives on the outskirts of the city between cats and plants, in what used to be her grandmother’s house. She’s a documentary, experimental and visual artist. Left-wing and feminist activist who once wanted to be a biologist or geographer: today, her imaginary explores the links between people and spaces, the microscopic and the immense, the personal and the political, the childish and the dark. Films, photographs, draws, designs and sews. Together with Joaquín Maito, she co-directed “The State of Things” (2012). Her short film “The International” (2015) participated in 40 international festivals. “Little Red Riding Hood“ (2019) and “Shady River” (2020) are her first solo films. She was part of Silbando Bembas, a militant film collective. Her films have been selected in Mar del Plata IFF, FIDMarseille, Festifreak, Transcinema, Cinélatino, Rencontres de Toulouse, Cosquín International Independent Film Festival, Uruguay Film Festival, FIDOCS, among others. She participated in 2015 in Berlinale Talents BA.  She is co-editor, together with Manuel Embalse, of “Owner’s Portrait” by Joaquín Maito (Best Debut Film at IDFF Ji.hlava 2018).


2012 – The state of things – feature film
2015 – The international – short film
2019 – Little Red Riding Hood – feature film
2020- Shady River – feature film
-In shooting / post-production – Every document of civilization
-In post-production – “God, the author of everything”