Daughter of the Lake follows Nélida as she fights for the lake as she would her family, joining her fellow villagers in committed demonstration.
Director Ernesto Cabellos also showcases the multiple sides to the debate, following a group of female miners who endure backbreaking labour during the day only to return home to live on parched and depleted land, transporting us to Bolivia where we see a similar situation, further advanced, in which multinational prospectors have sadly won, and finally introducing us to Dutch jeweler Bibi van der Velden who is forced to confront the human and environmental toll of the mining that makes her art possible.
Told in an interweaving triptych of stories that follows three different groups of women impacted differently by the effects of mining, Daughter of the Lake is a deftly balanced evocation of the spiritual and the political. Beautifully constructed by Cabellos; meditative shots of the breathtaking Andes are imbued with the land’s mystical significance while compelling archival footage of protests and rallies document the depths of destruction wrought upon Indigenous peoples over the years.
“Daughter of the Lake avoids easy answers and leaves the audience feeling the gravity of the situation in which communities such as Nélida’s find themselves. The film asks audiences to weigh the personal, commercial, industrial, and ecological values of water with the ethical and spiritual elements that have run throughout history.” – Patrick Mullen, Point of View Magazine
Daughter of the Lake
"Water is the blood of the Earth,” incants Nélida Ayay Chilón, a Peruvian native, who worships the life-bearing ‘Mother Water’ which Cajamarcan custom says is present in the lakes and rivers that have provided refreshment and sanitation to the members of her village for millennia.
Lying just beneath these lakes however is Yanacocha, Latin America’s largest gold deposit, whose financial value is in the billions. The lake, representing the spiritual bond between landscape and life-force is priceless to its locals but now the target of several global mining companies - a sacred site at risk of being plundered for profit.