Ixcancul | Chicago Reader

Ixcancul

This exquisite 2015 drama, the feature debut of Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante, takes its name from the active volcano around which the story is set. Vividly photographed by Luis Armando Arteaga, the narrative follows an indigenous woman (María Mercedes Coroy) who lives in a village at the volcano's base and dreams of running off to the U.S. with her boyfriend. Though her actions bring heartbreaking consequences, Bustamante refuses to judge her, nor the villagers (her parents included) who hew to traditions like arranged marriage. The film's message is decidedly feminist—in order for a culture to thrive, women must be allowed to make their own decisions—but Bustamante's close and compassionate rendering of the community is also poignant for the ways in which he reveals that their customs, many of them beautiful, are slowly dying. In Kaqchikel Mayan with subtitles.

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