María, a 17-year-old Kaqchikel Maya, lives with her parents on a coffee plantation at the foot of an active volcano. She is set to be married to the farm's foreman. But María longs to discover the world on the other side of the mountain, a place she cannot even imagine. And so she seduces a coffee-harvester who wants to escape to the USA. When this man leaves her behind, María discovers her own world and culture anew. Director Jayro Bustamante grew up in the region of the Kaqchikel Maya in Guatemala and returned there to make his film. He held workshops, asked people to tell stories from their own lives and examined the current living conditions of the Maya at close range. In doing so, he learnt about the special connection the women there have with the rituals of their mothers and grandmothers. The plot picks up the rhythm of a life defined by ancestral beliefs and traditions. An unfamiliar daily routine awaits the audience, far from the globalised world. Ixcanul is not a film about Indigenous culture but one that was developed from within it.
by Jayro Bustamante
with María Mercedes Coroy, María Telón, Manuel Antún, Justo Lorenzo, Marvin Coroy, Leo Antún
Guatemala / France 2015