Jump directly to the page contents

La hojarasca

The Undergrowth
Film still from "La hojarasca" by Macu Machín. It shows a person surrounded by bushes at the edge of a forest.
Still from LA HOJARASCA by Macu Machín © El Viaje Films
  • Director

    Macu Machín

  • Spain / 2024
    72 min / Original version with English subtitles

  • Original language


A plot of land on a Canary Island – not far from the volcano. There are almond trees and animals here; the wine matures in barrels. Three sisters are its legal heirs: one of them, Carmen, cultivates the land to this day; now, Elsa and Maura have also returned, the latter no longer well and dependent on Elsa’s care. There is no breadwinner in sight, the island is run by a matriarchy, albeit an involuntary one; most of the men have emigrated. The sisters deal with the paradoxical nature of their inheritance, at once a task, a burden and the promise of a secure existence in the world. In her poetic feature-length debut, Macu Machín shifts delicately between documentary observation and staging. Whether by way of acting, reconstruction or simply being in front of the camera – the three women’s strategies for life are narrated by the body. The Undergrowth is a film of few words – places and people are revealed through images and allegories. The titular “dead leaves” allude to the passing of time and the finite. As pots bubble and fires crackle, the volcano makes its presence felt, spewing out lava in a manner at once ceremonial and apocalyptic. The everyday – beautiful and unruly. (Carolin Weidner)

Macu Machín, born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1975. She has had an extensive career as a director of short films. Following a degree in audiovisual communication, she graduated in film directing in Madrid, screenwriting at the EICTV in San Antonio de Los Baños (Cuba) and completed a Master’s degree in documentary filmmaking at the Universidad del Cine in Buenos Aires, where she lived for ten years. She currently lives in the Canary Islands, where she combines her own filmmaking projects with her work as a film editor and teacher at the Instituto del Cine Canarias.

Production José Alayón, José Miguel Viña, Jamie Weiss, Jairo López. Production company El Viaje Films (Teneriffa, Spain). Director Macu Machín. Screenplay Macu Machín. Cinematography José Alayón, Zhana Yordanova. Editing Emma Tusell, Ariadna Ribas, Manuel Muñoz Rivas. Music Jonay Armas. Sound design Emilio García. Sound Joaquín Pachón García. Production design Macu Machín. Art director Silvia Navarro. Executive producer Marina Alberti, Macu Machín. With Carmen Machín, Elsa Machín, Maura Pérez.

World sales Splitscreen

Films: 2016: El imperio de la luz (short film). 2017: El mar inmóvil (short film). 2018: Quemar las naves (short film). 2024: La hojarasca / The Undergrowth.

Bonus Material

Director’s Statement and Interview

  • Film still from "La hojarasca" by Macu Machín. It shows two elderly people lying on the forest floor and looking up.

    Director’s Statement

    Macu Machín on the uprooted perspective that informed LA HOJARASCA

  • Film still from "La hojarasca" by Macu Machín. It shows a woman behind a scrub.


    Director Macu Machín in conversation with Barbara Wurm and Lisabona Rahman about her film LA HOJARASCA

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur