The Festival’s flagship section, gutsy cinema that breaks new ground
| 91 minutes | 2015
Maria, 17, lives in a Guatemalan village at the foot of Pacaya, an active volcano. She is Mayan, a member of the Kaqchikel community. Her life is structured around tradition. Like all young women in her community, she has been promised to a husband chosen for her and can expect a life with many children and hard toil on the coffee plantations. It doesn’t matter how she feels, or what dreams she has of seeing the big city or the rest of the world. But her ultimate fate will turn out to be more complex than first expected. Maria will find herself at the crossroads between modern life and her tribe’s ancient ways, of which the perpetually threatening volcano is the symbol and embodiment. Opening up to the outside world is a risky move... Filmed in collaboration with local populations and acted by non-professionals, the first feature film by Jayro Bustamante looks at first like an ethnographic documentary. On the slopes of the volcano, life is harsh, work alienating, human relationships not especially warm. Slowly, the film evolves into a hypnotic, almost magical fable at it evokes the beliefs of the people. A powerful, transporting portrait of a proud young woman.
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