The Tiniest Place
Directed by Tatiana Huezo • Documentary • 2011 • 104 minutes
On the surface THE TINIEST PLACE is the story of Cinquera, a village literally wiped off the official map during El Salvador's 12-year civil war. But on a deeper level it is a story about the ability to rise, to rebuild and reinvent oneself after a tragedy.
Holding the past and present in focus together, the film takes us to the tiny village nestled in the mountains amidst the humid Salvadoran jungle, while villagers, survivors of the war's massacres, recount their journey home at war's end. When they first returned their village no longer existed.
Nevertheless they decided to stay. And over the years as they worked the land, built new homes and started new families, the people of Cinquera learned to live with sorrow.
THE TINIEST PLACE juxtaposes scenes of contemporary village life, of Cinquera's remarkable renaissance, with stories of the war - how conflict arose, civil war erupted, and hopes for liberation turned to struggles for survival. 'Don't cry when they kill me' a mother recalls her 14-year old daughter telling her before running away to fight with the rebel army.
And though the village's history is always visible - in an elaborate memorial for the dead, or the persistent tremor of a survivor's hand, towards the end of THE TINIEST PLACE we too are returned to the present. A cow gives birth, a high school marching band plays, and children walk to school in the rain. We see that, if Cinquera is reemerging, it is through the strength and deep love of its inhabitants.
"A profound expression of the twin powers of life and death...The subject of the Central American wars of recent decades has rarely received such a level of artistic treatment onscreen." —Variety