Fall Talkback Series Kicks Off with Ixcanul

A vigorous discussion followed the screening of Ixcanul (2015, Guatemala and France) this past Wednesday at the Coral Gables Art Cinema. A diverse crowd, including community members, faculty, and students of local universities, and even a friend of the film’s director turned out for the latest in the “Talkback” series, a co-venture of the Cinema and the FIU Film Studies program.

ixcanul01CGAC’s Ben Delgado joins Andrew Strycharski during discussion

Jayro Bustamante’s beautifully shot freshman feature centers on a Mayan girl’s betrothal, illicit affair, and deepening the relationship with her mother through the ensuing twists and turns. The first Guatemalan film to be entered for a Best Foreign Picture Oscar and winner of a Silver Bear at the Berlinale, it has been drawing large crowds.

Wednesday evening’s audience needed a little prompting from film studies director Andrew Strycharski to jump into discussing the film’s painful portrayal of its indigenous protagonist’s interactions with an unresponsive and even exploitive bureaucracy. The first film shot almost entirely in Kaqchikel, one of Guatemala’s most prominent Mayan languages, Ixcanul prompted several audience members to note its broad social and humanist themes. Others instead focused on the difficulties of breaking away from modern Western assumptions, even when viewing a work so different from what we normally see in our cinemas.

The event was another clear instance of the hunger for a good discussion of powerful films. We have already begun planning for the next in the talkback series–stay tuned! Previous talkbacks have included screenings of Jafar Panahi’s Taxi (2015, Iran) and Pablo Trapero’s The Clan (2015, Argentina).