Maria (María Mercedes Coroy) is set to marry a much older foreman at the coffee plantation, but she has a crush on Pepe, who has fanciful dreams of getting rich in the U.S.
After consummating their flirtation, Pepe leaves for the States—without Maria, who soon learns she is expecting a baby. A difficult pregnancy assisted only by traditional medicine finally leads her to the hectic big city, but on very grim terms.
Shot in collaboration with the Kaqchikel Mayans of Guatemala’s coffee-growing highlands, Jayro Bustamante’s exquisitely shot debut feature (winner of a top prize at the Berlinale and Guatemala’s Oscar submission) explores what tradition and modernity mean for women living in marginalized communities.
"More than a fable about the clash of tradition and modernity, "Ixcanul" is finally a painful illustration of the ease with which those who have can prey on those who don't."
"Ixcanul" provides a window into a culture that we rarely see. But it's not just an anthropological study - it has a powerful story to tell, too."
"You can sense the director's respect for his subject in the movie's unhurried dramatic rhythms, its grounding in the earthy rituals of everyday life and its strong cast of nonprofessional Maya actors."