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// Films // Memories of a Penitent Heart

Memories of a Penitent Heart

Cecilia Aldarondo / Puerto Rico - United States / 2016 / 72 ' / English - Spanish / S.T. English


Hannah Buck
Cecilia Aldarondo
Brennan Vance
Angélica Negrón
Cecilia Aldarondo

Links & Reviews

Awards & Festivals

Winner, Best U.S. Latino Film, Cinema Tropical Award
Winner, Best Documentary, Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival 2016
Special Jury Award for Emotional Honesty, Indie Memphis Film Festival
Official Selection, GIFF
Official Selection, Tribeca Film Festival 2016
Official Selection, InsideOut Toronto LGBT Film Festival
Official Selection, New Orleans Film Festival
Official Selection, Twist Seattle Queer Film Festival

Upcoming Screenings

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previously screened

In Production

A filmmaker uncovers the buried past of her uncle who died of AIDS and whose lover is now a Franciscan monk with his own stories of faith, love and regret.


Combining a wealth of recently discovered home movies, video, and written documents with artfully shot contemporary interviews and vérité footage, MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART is a documentary that cracks open a Pandora’s box of unresolved family drama. Originating from filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo’s suspicion that there was something ugly in her family’s past, the film charts her excavation of the buried family conflict around her uncle Miguel’s death, and her search for Miguel’s partner Robert a generation later. After two years of dead ends, Robert turns up: but he’s not the same man. He’s reinvented himself as Father Aquin, a Franciscan monk with twenty-five years of pent-up grief and bitterness. For the first time, a member of Miguel’s family wants to hear Aquin’s side of the story—but is it too little, too late? A story about the mistakes of the past and the second chances of the present, MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART is a cautionary tale about the unresolved conflicts wrought by AIDS, and a nuanced exploration of how faith is used and abused in times of crisis.


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