With My Heart in Yambo

(Con mi corazón en Yambo)
María Fernanda Restrepo | Documentary

2012 | 137 minutes | Ecuador

In 1988, director María Fernanda Restrepo's two brothers—then 14 and 17—vanished without a trace. Decades later, Restrepo embarks on the painful journey of recounting her family’s story.


In 1988, when director María Fernanda Restrepo was only 10 years old, her life changed in the cruelest of ways: her two brothers—then 14 and 17—vanished without a trace. Only later did the family learn that the boys had been illegally detained, tortured, and murdered by the Ecuadorean police. Now, decades later, with her brothers’ remains still missing, Restrepo embarks on the painful journey of recounting her family’s story. In the process, she comes face to face with the suspects, and documents yet one more search in Lake Yambo, where the boys’ bodies were dumped. “Giving up is the only way to lose a battle,” says Restrepo’s father, still asking for clues and protesting in Quito’s Presidential Palace Square every Wednesday against the lack of answers. The film portrays one of the darkest political episodes in Ecuador and provides an insider’s look to the recent history of this country. — HotDocs


"... With My Heart in Yambo interweaves archival footage and interviews, coming across as a nightmarish collage, with haunting tracking shots of the boys' untouched rooms alternating with clips of old news conferences, and poignant recollections that are set against excerpts from home movies... Highly recommended." — Video Librarian

"While many books have told the story of the disappeared children before, With My Heart in Yambo, provides an intimate picture of the effect of the disappearance on the family." — Irene Caselli, BBC

"Since it opened at cinemas in Ecuador in October it has been seen by more than 160,000 people, making it the most successful documentary in the country's history. Such has been its impact that the interior ministry has promised to show it to police officers as part of their human rights training, and the attorney general has begun a new investigation." — Irene Caselli, BBC

"With My Heart in Yambo is a documentary that that, more than fighting against social amnesia, helps us understand what happened so that we can confront policies that not only are repeated in Ecuador but have become a State behavior: the decisions taken in the high ranks of the executive power are performed with cruelty and cynicism by that chain's lower strata." — Eduardo Varas, La Republica

Main credits

Restrepo Arismendi, Fernanda (film director)
Restrepo Arismendi, Fernanda (narrator)
Krarup, Randi (film producer)

Other credits

Cinematography, Francois Laso; editors, Iván Mora, Carla Valencia; music, Iván Mora M.

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Havana Film Festival - Second Coral Award for Documentary
DocsDF - Special Mention of the Jury; Best Ibero American Film
UNASUR Film Festival Argentina - Best Documentary, Jury Mention for Direction
NEFIAC Latin American Film Festival - Best Documentary
Flandes Latin American Film Festival of Festival - Best Human Rights Documentary
Isla Margarita Film Festival - Best Documentary

DIRECTOR: María Fernanda Restrepo


YEAR: 2012

GENRE: Documentary


COLOR / B&W: Color

GRADE LEVEL: High School, College, Adults



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