Pioneering Salvadorian Filmmaker Alejandro Cotto Dies

Pioneering Salvadorian filmmaker Alejandro Cotto passed away last Saturday, June 6, in his house situated in Suchitoto, at the age of 86. He was known for his major works in film during the 50’s and is considered one of the most prominent filmmakers for the production of national and international Salvadorian cinema for his successful depiction and representation of the poverty and realities of El Salvador through cinema.

He was born in 1928 in Suchitoto, where he spent the majority of his life and career. He received a college scholarship in Mexico where he studied with some of the leading filmmakers at the time including Emilio Fernández, Julio Bracho and Luis Buñuel with whom he would go on to collaborate with later in his career. His earliest and greatest influences are photographer Gabriel Figueroa. Some of his later accomplishments and contributions include preserving the culture and history of El Salvador and especially his native place of birth, Suchitoto.

Two of his first productions are Festival en Suchitoto / Festival in Suchitoto (1950) and Sinfonía de mi pueblo / Symphony of My People (1951). One of his most popular and most recognized films include El Rostro / The Face (961) in which his thesis asks the fundamental question of who possesses whom. Such as does the earth possess man or does man possess earth? El carretón de los sueños / The Cart of Dreams (1973) is a documentary in which he portrays the reality of childhood poverty in El Salvador.

In 1979, he initiated Un Universo Menor / A Small Universe, where he intended to portray the traditions of Suchitoto but because of armed conflict the film was not completed. After this, Alejandro dedicated himself to the ministry of cultural and artistic public works of his town.

He also has a vast experience as prominent public figure of El Salvador. In 1991 he was consultant to the city of El Salvador and he also converted his home into a prominent museum in Suchitoto called “Casa Museo de Alejandro Cotto”. He was honored with the National Tourism Award for all of his accomplishments including his promotional and cultural work in Suchitoto. He was later named the “Son of Suchitoto” for his great labor and work to conserve the patrimony and legacy of the city. Later in his career he is renowned for his successful depiction of El Salvador film and great advocacy to preserve its identity and culture.