What became of the Maya? Since 1984, Thierry Zéno has regularly visited a community of Tzotzil Indians living in Mexico’s Chiapas moutains. They venerate the stars, mountains, springs, crosses, and the forces of nature, as well as the images of the Catholic saints that have superseded their Mayan divinities. The Tzotzil refuse to be filmed or photographed, not only because they consider it an attack upon their pride, but also because they believe the forces that make up their souls can be diminished by the equipment. With time, Thierry Zéno was able to win their confidence. He became the chronicler of their festivals, religious ceremonies and daily life; a witness to the conflicts between Indian and Latino, between peasant and school master, between those fatithful to Indians traditions and those converted to Protestantism, and to their progressive acculturation. This process of acculturation will soon accelerate: the village is to have a road-link with San Cristobal de las Casas. Principal figures: FRANSISCO, the young drum player who became a photographer. JOSE, guardian of the tradition and the chief of festival day ceremonies. ALEJANDRO, José’s son, who respects the tradition more by obligation than by conviction. FATHER MIGUEL, the missionary-pharmacist in a cow-boy hat. MARIANO, who converted to Protestantism in an effort to save his ailing son.
Production : Zeno Films
Coproduction : RTBF, CBA, LA SEPT
With the support of the Centre du cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles