All Water Has a Perfect Memory

A film by Natalia Almada

Mexico/US | 2001 | 19 minutes | Color/BW | DVD | Spanish/English | Subtitled | Order No. 03786


ALL WATER HAS A PERFECT MEMORY is a poignant experimental documentary that explores the effects of tragedy and remembrance on a bi-cultural family. At seven months old, filmmaker Natalia Almada lost her two-year-old sister, Ana Lynn, in a drowning accident at her childhood home in Mexico. Inspired by an essay written by Toni Morrison, in which she speaks of the Mississippi River’s ability to conjure memories, this moving piece serves as a meditation on the cultural and gender differences between the filmmaker’s North American mother and Mexican father in the face of their daughter’s death. Through personal recollections narrated by each family member, including her brother, Almada incorporates Super-8 home movies, photographs and fabricated images to weave together a touching and moving visual memory of Ana Lynn.


“A masterfully crafted documentary of sheer power and beauty...captures the essence of pain, loss, remembrance, and cultural differences.”

David Kwok Programmer, Tribeca Film Festival

“Powerful imagery.”

Rebecca Rodrigues Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Poignant…(Almada) creates a touching and visual memory.”

Vistas Film Festival

“…an exquisite film about loss, grief, and remembrance... gracefully renders the textures of memory…profoundly and provocatively suggests how familial, social, and collective memories are produced while simultaneously functioning as a powerful anamnestic practice.”

C. Ondine Chavoya Williams College

“Stunningly beautiful. Its imagery is mesmerizing, its voices haunting…highly recommended.”

Visual Anthropology Review


  • Woodstock International Film Festival
  • Pravo Ljudski Film Festival
  • Walker Art Center
  • Wexner Center for the Arts
  • Documenta Und Museum
  • Aurora Picture Show, TX
  • Cleveland International Film Festival - Honorable Mention, Best Documentary Short Film
  • Tulipanes Latino Films and Arts Film Festival
  • Red Bank International Film Festival
  • One Reel Film Festival
  • San Francisco Latino Int’l Film Festival
  • Sundance Film Festival
  • Vistas Film Festival
  • Bilbao Documentary and Short Film Festival
  • Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival
  • African American Women in Cinema - Audience Award
  • Tribeca Film Festival - Best Short Documentary
  • Chicago International Film Festival - Gold Plaque Award
  • San Diego Latino Film Festival
  • Women in the Director's Chair
  • Dallas Video Festival


Natalia Almada

Recipient of the 2012 MacArthur Genius Award, Natalia Almada combines artistic expression with social inquiry to make films that are both personal reflections and critical social commentaries. Her work straddles the boundaries of documentary, fiction, and experimental film. Her most recent film Todo lo demás (Everything Else) is a narrative feature starring Academy Award-nominated Adriana Barraza; it premiered at the New York Film Festival and was nominated for a Mexican Academy Award. El Velador (The Night Watchman) premiered at the 2011 Cannes Directors' Fortnight and broadcast on the award-winning PBS program POV, along with her other two feature documentaries Al otro lado (To The Other Side) and El General (The General). Almada's short film All Water Has a Perfect Memory premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and received the Best Documentary Short award at the Tribeca Film Festival. Almada was the recipient of the 2009 Best Documentary Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, USA Artists, The Herb Alpert Foundation, and MacDowell Colony. Almada graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives between Mexico City and San Francisco. (7/19)


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