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Ixcanul Volcano

· ​The film ·

Ixcanul (Volcano, 2015), is the first film of the Guatemalan film director Jayro Bustamante. It is the story of Maria, a teenager who lives in a village where superstitions and ancestral traditions still hold sway, legacies to which Maria herself soon falls prey, given that her parents are arranging a marriage for her. However, before the ceremony the young girl, resisting their decision, has an affair with a boy and is left pregnant. Having discovered her pregnancy her parents urge her to have an abortion. But the conclusion is in some aspects even worse. Bustamante tells of a closed, archaic world that lives not far geographically from modern society yet at an impenetrable distance from it. And he certainly does not paint a beautiful picture of it, denouncing the presence of hateful forms of the abuse of women. Then again, even the peasant context, so often described with amiability on the large screen, is framed here in its crudest and most violent aspects, almost coincidental with and forerunning the injustice of the community which inhabits this world. The film director’s style is descriptive and somewhat detached, so that until half an hour before the end one wonders why he opted to make a feature film and not a direct documentary. In the epilogue, however, the plot finally unravels, revealing a conspiracy which in fact has silently activated the whole event. It is not by chance that the story ends intelligently in a circular way, to underline the sense of inevitability which weighs on the protagonist as, it is not hard to imagine, on so many of her peers. (emilio ranzato)




St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 20, 2019