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.
Family Caught Between Past and Present; Exquisite Cinematography
For a Mayan family of three living on misty and sable volcano slopes, snakes come in both reptile and human form. Blessings are bestowed upon the family as well. 17 year old Maria dreams of life on the other side of the volcano. This place she dreams of, stretching from the other side of the volcano, across all of Mexico and into the United States, is nowhere that anyone she knows has ever been. Yet her pleasant life picking coffee, cooking and taking care of farm animals is too sedate for her. She intends to bolt from an arranged marriage with her father's boss. In doing so she sets herself up for confrontations between needs; company and independence, city and country, adventure and stability, Mayan and Spanish, and more. In this struggle the real character of Maria will become more apparent.
If exquisite cinematography is your thing, you will like this unlikely yet appealing pairing of Guatemala and France. The acting is more convincing for the local talent, for even the best actors in the world would not make convincing Mayans. Kaqchikel is the film language. Ixcanul is available by Netflix snail mail delivery, a delivery that matches the gentle and pleasing pace of the film.
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