This updated version of the 1983 classic on war and social revolution in Guatemala describes the struggle of the largely Indian peasantry against a legacy of state and foreign oppression. Centered on the experiences of Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú, a Maya K’iche indigenous leader, the film knits a variety of forms, interviews, re-enactment, and on the spot footage shot at great hazard into a wide-ranging and cohesive canvas of the Guatemalan struggle. Despite the long history of oppression it depicts, the overall effect of the film is exhilarating as it conveys the birth of a national and political awareness. Subtitles This is the first film in Skylight’s Resistance Saga, which also includes Granito: How to Nail a Dictator and 500 Years.
Director’s Statement: Pamela Yates
I first went to Guatemala in 1982 to make a film about a hidden war, a film that would become my first feature-length documentary. It was a terrifying time and no one wanted to talk to me. But I persevered and built relationships, working hard to tell the story of the war across the political spectrum. I decided to focus around the beauty and dignity of the Mayan culture because of the attacks they were suffering at the hands of the military. I chose a young Mayan woman living in exile to be the storyteller speaking directly into the camera—her name was Rigoberta Menchú. The film help put Rigoberta on the world stage, and 10 years later she became the first indigenous person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.