The Room of Bones (El Cuarto de los Huesos)

A film by Marcela Zamora Chamorro

Mexico/El Salvador | 2015 | 61 minutes | Color | DVD | Spanish | Subtitled | Order No. 161177


THE ROOM OF BONES follows the passage of four mothers in the Institute for Legal Medicine as they search for their children’s remains in the midst of three decades of social violence in El Salvador. Across Mexico and Central America, the last twenty years have been plagued by a meteoric and troubling rise in desaparecidos, or missing persons. Mass murder has become all too common, and the identity of the perpetrators remains unknown as the relationship between governments, gangs, and other criminal organizations is shrouded in mystery. As civil and legal systems have failed to thoroughly investigate the crisis, families of victims are left to seek closure and justice on their own. Salvadoran filmmaker Marcela Zamora profiles a group of forensic anthropologists in her home country tasked with the noble but gruesome work of unearthing human remains and matching them with names of desaparecidos. The result is a harrowing portrait of a region in crisis.


“The Room of Bones is a necessary work that provides testimony to the catastrophic legacies of violence that continue to plague El Salvador… This work makes the bold claim that, however harrowing, these images and these voices must form part of our public awareness.”

Paulina Suarez Ambulante Film Festival


  • DocsBarcelona, Amnesty International Award and Special Mention from the Jury
  • Margaret Mead Film Festival
  • Ambulante Film Festival
  • Costa Rica Film Festival
  • Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival
  • Icaro Film Festival
  • Panorama Brasil
  • International Film Festival & Forum on Human Rights, Geneva


Marcela Zamora Chamorro

Marcela studied Journalism in Costa Rica and then graduated as Documentary Filmmaker at the Film School of San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. For more than 12 years, she has been making documentaries focused on gender and human rights, in total 4 feature films and 10 short documentary films seen throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. She has worked in television for Al Jazeera and Tele Sur. She currently directs the documentary section of the Salvadorian digital newspaper El Faro. (10/15)


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