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María, a seventeen-year-old Mayan (Kaqchikel) girl, lives on the slopes of an active volcano in Guatemala. An arranged marriage awaits her, but her suitor must first spend months working in the city. It is a world María knows nothing of, but is forced to grapple with when problems arise.
The film was selected as the Guatemalan entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards but was not nominated. See more »
El Son de Mi Madre
[from the albumEl Son Folklore de Guatemala Vol. 17"]
Performed by Marimba Internacionales Conejos
Composed by Wuerner Roderico Orozco
Published by Edifosa
Courtesy of Difosa See more »
The director's feature film debut. From Guatemala, selected to represent the Oscars in the previous year (2016), but did not make. The film was based on the real about a small Mayan family living closer to the active volcano slope working in the coffee plantation. A perfect depiction of hardship of life, but from the perspective of a teenager. The life between adulthood and childhood, and for the lack of the knowledge of the real world, how they are misled was the film's purpose.
I liked the film, no question about that. But it did not start like that. I hate films showing cruelty towards animals. It does not matter livestock, wild animals or anything else. The exception is only for the nature documentaries which does not involve human. So it all started with a strong dislike for the film. I was not sure I about writing a review for it. But the film convinced me with the later parts. I was not expecting it. In the end, I felt a very good film became a just above average because of one bad sequence.
The film follows the character Maria. The seventeen year old girl was promised to the one who works in the city. But she wants to leave the place, country to the United States. That's when she begins to have her sexual urge. Following that, she develops a relationship with a boy from the coffee plantation. The consequence is the bigger price she has to face. With numerous challenges, not just her, but the whole family should overcome it. So how they are prepared for it and other following struggles revealed in the remaining narration.
❝He's probably living in the United States in a big house with a garden, like those in the magazine. He must speak English by now.❞
The film highlights many things. One of those was how the poverty ridden, illiterate people are misguided. The indigenous Guatemalan people that showed in this film really amazed me. Okay, the girl made a mistake, but how her family reacted to it was a surprise to me. Being very cultured, I did not expect that. In fact, I thought it could turn into a thriller, particularly in its finale. But the entire film was a drama and finding a solution to solve the issue as the way it flows. Then comes the misconception which drags the family into more trouble.
At that point of the narration, the film was close to the end. But an unexpected twist made its way. The part where desperation takes the front seat. With all the sudden, everything was resolved, but good or sad is to know, one must watch the film. Like the filmmaker, the casting was also new faces. The storyline seems simple, but where it sets in was the challenge the cast and crew excelled. The original title Ixcanul means volcano in Mayan language, but it is a force looking to explode is the correct definition, that's explained by the director.
It is one of first Guatemalan films for me. I'm very impressed with the story, the performances, locations and the overall film. It is not just a film festival product, it is like any Hollywood or the rest of the world cinema that qualified to call a good film. So if you are watching lots of regular films and got bored, you can try this for a change. A different language, different setting, but a situation every culture, ethnic had seen, that now you can learn how it all confronted by these people. Just like the film 'Tanna', but not all the same. Excluding the opening part I complained about, this is a nice film to check it out. But I won't mention the word recommended!
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