Ixcanul's best quality is empathy for its characters, evident primarily in the relationship between Maria and her mother. This is where the film's delicate and most poignant moments are conceived. Focusing on this hardy maternal bond allows the film to explore the traditions and ancestral of the community it presents in a pragmatic fashion, exploring the development of a belief system and how they have evolved in the face of increasing globalisation. Whilst it magnificently captures the intimate, once the film's larger themes become more transparent the magic begins to dwindle. Commendable for presenting the power of bureaucratic corruption alongside the hereditary belief in the divine reckoning of the gods equally, the viewer is invited to ascribe their own interpretation of the belligerent force that strikes Maria. Sadly, the narrative contrivances that compromise the final third feel a little too rote and lacking in clarity, especially compared to the weightless charm of what proceed them. Ixcanul may struggle to tackle the larger issue it posits but well represents the lives and rituals of the marginalised community it seeks to give a voice.
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Patrick Gamble | @PatrickJGamble