Last Updated: December 6, 2015By Tags: , ,

Ever since his Silver Bear win earlier this year at Berlin Jayro Bustamante’s IXCANUL (pronounced eesh-kanool) has garnered about fifteen different awards and distinctions. This good year gave Bustamante, a filmmaker from Guatemala, some much-needed exposure and, hopefully, even-better means to make another film soon.

In IXCANUL Maria, 17, lives on the slopes of an active volcano. An arranged marriage is in the works for her with the owner of the ranch where she and her parents work. But Maria dreams of going to America, an unknown land that spells out hope. To escape her fate, being married to an old rancher, she seduces a farm hand by the name of Pepe who quickly gets her pregnant.

Whether they are victim or villain Bustamante gives equal attention to each one of his characters, teasing lucid and genuine performances out of his actors (not all of which are professionals) and delivering a film that’s full of generosity but thankfully devoid of sentiment or manipulation.

This article coincides with film’s European release. Film premiered at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival. No theatrical release date set for now.

Director Jayro Bustamante

Director Jayro Bustamante

Cast: María Mercedes Coroy, María Telón, Manuel Antún.

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