Where the Roads End (2004)
Original title: Donde Acaban los Caminos
Based on a novel by Mario Monteforte Toledo.
Tagline: "Aparte son los ladinos, aparte son los naturales".
(From Monteforte Toledo's short story: Dos Caminos Salen del Pueblo).
From my contribution to IMDb for this film
When love is not enough... The autobiographical story of Monteforte Toledo - the film's Doctor Zamora - who comes to San Pedro La Laguna (Guatemala) as a young man during the military dictatorship in the first decades of the 20th century. Zamora sets out with great idealism and dedication to erradicate illness among the Indians, even if his work is disapproved by the military commander in town. Zamora falls in love with María, a young Indian girl from a village and he invites her to come live with him in the town of San Pedro. However, other young women have noted the charm of the elegant of Zamora, and even the young idealist doctor cannot escape the conflict between Ladinos (Mestizos or non-Indians) and Indians.
This film is a great achievement for Guatemala. The Spanish tag line translates something like: "Mestizos and Indians are separate and apart", and yes, that's what the film is about.
Although this is predominantly a non-indigenous view of indigenous culture, it is, I think, the first Guatemalan fictional film to deal seriously with the issue of interethnic relations in Guatemala.
Some interesting facts about the film and its reception in Guatemala:
- The film is based on the autobiographical novel by Guatemalan writer of Italian descent, Mario Monteforte Toledo, who thought that among his works this book was the best for a film, because it was "full of images".
- Although the film takes place in a small, poor town on the shore of the Lake Atitlán Guatemala, the scenes in town were shot in the neat colonial city and former capital of Guatemala: Antigua Guatemala. The cake given to Dr. Zamora by the ladino lady who wishes him to like her daughter, is the almond pie served at the Cafetería Cenicientas in Antigua's Calle del Arco.
- Mario Monteforte Toledo showed up several times during production and intervened in order to make sure everything was just as he remembered that it happened. Production was halted for 6 months due to disagreements. After Monteforte's death in 2003, his nephew came to terms with the director and production was continued.
- Reportedly, during screenings in Guatemala, indigenous viewers in Guatemala were surprised to see Ladino (Mestizo) actors portray some of the Indian characters. Their way of adjusting the traditional Maya-Tz'utujil costumes on the screen revealed to the Guatemalan audience that they were not used to using indigenous clothing.
- Rosa Chavajay - the Tz'utujil love of Monteforte Toledo and the real life equivalent of the film's María - was very nervous as to whether the film would be honest to the real story. She received a visit from the producers, who brought a TV-set and a DVD with them. After seeing the film, Chavajay commented that it was a very honest film and that she was very satisfied.
[More about this and other Guatemalan films]
Opdateret d. 7.9.2005