Return to Hansala

Return to Hansala (Spanish: Retorno a Hansala) is a 2008 Spanish film directed by Chus Gutiérrez. It won the Golden Pyramid Award at the 32nd Cairo International Film Festival and was also screened at the 2008 Dubai International Film Festival.

Return to Hansala
Directed byChus Gutiérrez
Produced byMaestranza Films, Muac Films
Screenplay byChus Gutiérrez, Juan Carlos Rubio
StarringFarah Ahmed, José Luís García-Peréz, Adam Bounouacha, Fatimah Andah, El Hussein Aghazaff, Cuca Escribano
Music byTao Gutiérrez
CinematographyKiko de la Rica
Edited byFernando Pardo
Release date
  • September 10, 2008 (2008-09-10) (Toronto International Film Festival)
Running time
95 minutes


At the beginning of this decade the bodies of eleven young Moroccan immigrants who were trying to cross the Straight appeared on the beaches of Rota. From their clothes, it was discovered that they all came from the same village, Hansala. The film tries to portray that event through the eyes of Martín, a funeral parlor owner who tries to make money on their deaths, and Leila, the sister of one of the dead boys. Together, they adventure into trying to repatriate the boy's body by van and live an intense moral experience that will lead them to question their beliefs.

The film begins with several bodies washing up on the Spanish shore, Playa Getares, near the coastal town of Algeciras. One of them is the younger brother of Leila, a refugee living in the town. She had encouraged him to risk the boat crossing to Spain, against their family's wishes. After identifying her brother, Leila decides to repatriate his body, and face the wrath of her parents. Teaming up with a Spanish undertaker Martin, the pair embark on the hazardous trip to Leila's mountain village of Hansala in the Moroccan countryside. Leila's most fundamental beliefs are challenged, as she must face her family, and their grief, anger and love. Martin meanwhile is surprised by his welcome in the village. Director Chus Gutierrez presents with great sensitivity the opposing viewpoints of her main protagonists, artfully, contrasting the lives of rich and poor, separated by only a few hundred miles.


Tao Gutiérrez, Farah Hamed, and Chus Gutiérrez at a press conference for the film at Cines del Sur