La hojarasca

The Undergrowth
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.
by Macu Machín
with Carmen Machín, Elsa Machín, Maura Pérez
Spain 2024 Spanish, Subtitles: English 72' Colour World premiere | Debut film | Documentary form


  • Carmen Machín
  • Elsa Machín
  • Maura Pérez


DirectorMacu Machín
ScreenplayMacu Machín
CinematographyJosé Alayón, Zhana Yordanova
EditingEmma Tusell, Ariadna Ribas, Manuel Muñoz Rivas
MusicJonay Armas
Sound DesignEmilio García
SoundJoaquín Pachón García
Production DesignMacu Machín
Art DirectorSilvia Navarro
ProducersJosé Alayón, José Miguel Viña, Jamie Weiss, Jairo López
Executive ProducersMarina Alberti, Macu Machín

Produced by

El Viaje Films

Teneriffa, Spain

World Sales



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.


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)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2024


Fri Feb 16 19:00

Arsenal 1

Download iCal file
Sat Feb 17 16:00

Cubix 7

Download iCal file
Sat Feb 24 17:30

Cinema Betonhalle@Silent Green

Download iCal file