Men Of Maize – NOWNESS

Under the tutelage of a Guatemalan shaman, New York-based director Anthony Prince explores the steadfast preservation of Maya culture in the face of centuries of Spanish colonization.

The Brooklyn-born filmmaker—who is also a classically trained dancer—brings his love of movement and abstraction to the fore by weaving ethnographic footage of Guatemala from the 1930s to the 1980s, with like-for-like scenes of the communities who live by the country’s Lake Atitlán today.

Men of Maize is a flipbook that cycles though images of Catholic paraphernalia and Mayan iconography—creating a visual allegory of how ancestral traditions are preserved through assimilation into modern life.

Shaman Luis Ricardo Ignacio Ventura, this documentary film’s spirit guide, uses the legend of Popol Vuh—the Mayan creation story about the first humans, who were made of corn—as a way to explain the unbreakable bond between the descendants of the Maya and their ancestor’s rituals.

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