Ximena is an illiterate woman in her fifties, who has learned to live on her own in order to keep her illiteracy as a secret. Jackeline is a young, unemployed elementary school teacher, who tries to convince Ximena to take reading classes. Persuading her proves to be an almost impossible task, until one day, Jackeline finds something Ximena has been keeping as her only treasure since she was a child: a letter Ximena’s father left when he abandoned her many years before. Thus, the two women embark on a learning journey where they discover that there are many ways of being illiterate, and that not knowing how to read is just one of them.
IXCANUL, VOLCANO (Ixcanul, volcán)
Jayro Bustamante / France, Guatemala / 62 min / 2015 / In Maya and Spanish with English subtitles
Maria, a 17-year-old Mayan girl, lives and works with her parents on a coffee plantation in the foothills of an active volcano in Guatemala. An arranged marriage awaits her: her parents have promised her to Ignacio, the plantation overseer. But Maria doesn’t sit back and accept her destiny. Pepe, a young coffee cutter who plans to migrate to the USA becomes her possible way out. Maria seduces Pepe in order to run away with him, but after promises and clandestine meetings, Pepe takes off, leaving her pregnant, alone and in disgrace. There’s no time to lose for Maria’s mother, who thinks abortion is the only solution.