In Francisca Alegría’s poignant and stunning debut feature, THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE, we are introduced to a world delicately constructed by fantasy, mystery, and magical realism. The story begins in a river in the south of Chile where fish are dying due to pollution from a nearby factory. Amid their floating bodies, long-deceased Magdalena (Mia Maestro) bubbles up to the surface gasping for air, bringing with her old wounds and a wave of family secrets. This shocking return sends her widowed husband into turmoil and prompts their daughter Cecilia (Leonor Varela) to return home to the family’s dairy farm with her own children. Magdalena’s presence reverberates among her family, instigating fits of laughter and despair in equal measure with all but Cecilia’s eldest child, who finds much-needed comfort in their grandmother’s love and unconditional understanding during a time of transition. THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE is an ambitious proposal for acceptance and healing, suggesting that the dead return when they are most needed. Director Francisca Alegria joins us for a conversation on her ambitious undertaking and how she was able to successfully tell her story as a lyrical rumination on family, nature, renewal, and resurrection.
About the filmmaker – Francisca Alegría is an award-winning filmmaker who obtained her degree in Directing from the Universidad Católica de Chile and her M.F.A. in Screenwriting and Film Directing at Columbia University. Her short film AND THE WHOLE SKY FIT IN THE DEAD COW’S EYE received the award for Best International Fiction Short Film at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Best Latin American Short Film at Miami Film Festival and was selected at Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and New York Film Festival. Alegría’s debut feature, The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Labs and will premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
“Mysterious and elegiac. A tale of warning about a collapsing ecosystem and about deep family wounds.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
“A beautifully eerie and resonant tale about motherhood and the natural world… Solidly grounded, teeming with thought-provoking ideas, wonderfully atmospheric, and often visually striking.” – Jonathan Holland, Screen Daily
“Hauntingly moving and hopeful… A folkloric tale that uses magical realism as a way to connect the intimate story of a family suffering from generational trauma with a timely environmentalist fable.” – Rafael Motamayor, IndieWire
“An intimate story about one family and a vast story about the Earth…Feels like the arrival of a totally new voice.” – Drew Gregory, Autostraddle