7:30 PM, 13th September, 2017
PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE EMBASSY OF GUATEMALA
The Mayan people of the Kaqchikel tribe in Guatemala are poor, uneducated, and struggling to make a living off their land, which so happens to be on the side of an active volcano. The ‘ixcanul’ (which is Mayan for volcano) looms large in the film, both physically and psychologically as barrier between the people of the village and the rest of the world.
17-year-old Maria is beautiful and bold, living with her parents on a coffee plantation. An arranged marriage to the foreman is seen as a chance to improve the family’s circumstances but Maria, like all the young people, wants to escape the exploitation and poverty by finding a way out to the nearby United States.
Director Jayro Bustamante shows that Mayans are found at the lowest point of the social scale, and the lowest among the Mayan population are their women. In his stunning debut feature, he has poignantly captured an intimate and honest depiction of a moment in time of a family caught in the crossroads of tradition and modernity. There are universal truths about the human condition that should resonate with the patient viewer. Much like our screening of Tanna last year, this is rare big-screen opportunity which opens a window on another little-seen corner of the world.