Chac (1975) Poster


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A nuanced, subtle view into an unfamiliar culture and mythos.
JadeJaguar17 November 2001
I saw Chac when it first came out, and have wanted to see it again ever since. I have now seen the restored film, And I was not disappointed. Chac is an amazing and unique film. Made entirely with non actors, they give a better performance than any professionals could have. Chac is a simple and direct folk tale, but rich with subtleties. The story reminds one of something by B. Traven, the reclusive author of The Treasure Of Sierra Madre and Macario. The setting, the forests of Chiapas, Mexico, reminds one of John Boorman's The Emerald Forest, but is completely lacking in artifice. The direct, but nuanced portrayals of the characters and story is much like Japanese film, such as Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. It could only be made by someone who knows and cares for its subjects deeply. It is a setting, culture and mythos unfamiliar to most of us, that is presented in such a way as to be at once mystical, and as ordinary as walking across the street. I highly recommend it.

The restored print looked good, but this is not Hollywood film making, and was made under difficult conditions, to say the least. The only damage I saw as a distraction is a small colored scratch in the center of the screen during a very dark scene with small, lit subjects in the middle of the screen. There are also variations in the color of film stock.
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A great film about the clash between cultures and spirits.
Inserts28 December 2002
Chac is one of the best films ever produced and distributed about the shamanism of an indigenous culture in conflict with the material/technological/monotheistic world. It is a small story with a grand statement and emotional impact.
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A movie in Mayan languages.....
cycleguy4 June 2005
There is no Spanish usage here. The language of the villagers is Tzeltal. When the men of the village go on a short quest with a shaman into the Lacandon Jungle, you can hear Lacandon/Yucatec in greetings and interactions with local indigenous people.

There were brief shots of Palenque too, as if they were near there while being deep in jungle.

The actor playing the shaman has a classic Maya face. It is the sort that is on many ancient stelae. I fully expected to find that he had done other roles, but did not succeed in finding any such evidence. I found it annoying that the credits listed none of the Lacandons who were in the film.
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A truly great spiritual document
karen577818 November 2013
I saw this film many, many years ago and was waiting for it to make it to the IMDb, much less DVD. For a while it was possible to get a VHS copy from an address which was something like a car wash or auto parts store. It seemed to be truly lost, but now that it is on DVD, anyone interested in spiritual development, shamanism, tribalism or Mayan culture should get a copy. It is a tragedy that Klein seems not to have made anything else.

The film itself may be hard to follow, in part because some things are not entirely tied up neatly at the end, but I can't say I found it anything except straight forward. The way the different characters carry themselves, their interactions within their cultural context, the visuals and the technology of traditional magic make this film compelling and memorable, almost a documentary.
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Really couldn't follow it.
GJValent16 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Here goes. This film was shown outdoors, in the campground, during a mid-week evening break during the 1978 National Speleological Society convention in New Braunfels, Texas. Some local promoter offered this flick, because it was about 'caves'. It really isn't. It's about a drought, in a contemporary New World jungle community, and their attempts to end same. One young local villager shows his hi-tech readiness, as he owns a flashlight. Whoopee. This film played at Facets Multimedia in Chicago the following year, along with a review in the Chicago Reader which pretty much ripped it apart. Basically, following the customs of the society depicted, it doesn't make much sense. Interesting I guess, but, if it became a lost film, I wouldn't bother looking for it.
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