Filmed over 15 years, beginning with her classic documentary TODOS SANTOS CUCHUMATAN: Report from a Guatemala Village (1982), Olivia Carrescia's three films on the Mayan Indians of Guatemala preserve a record, and provide an acute observation on how the indigenous culture has been affected by, yet survived, that country's tumultuous history.
The trilogy starts with TODOS SANTOS CUCHUMATAN which provides an intimate look at everyday life in Todos Santos, a village in Guatemala's highlands, before the civil war of the mid 1980's, and ominously illustrates social changes in the lives of Guatemalan Indians leading to the political upheaval.
Seven years later in TODOS SANTOS: THE SURVIVORS (1989) the filmmaker returns to find the once quiet village she had documented changed forever by the political turmoil. A haunting look underneath the silence which blanketed Guatemala, the film records the legacy of a bloody civil war, and the wounds that remain unhealed even after the guns have stopped firing.
Fleeing this violence, many Mayan families emigrated to the United States. Set in Florida and Massachusetts, MAYAN VOICES: AMERICAN LIVES (1994) contrasts their experiences as refugees with the struggles of those continuing to arrive in search of better lives. The film also explores issues of identity, cultural integration, migration, and social change.
Now on one DVD, this collection of three films is a unique, essential document of the recent history and evolving society of an indigenous Central American community.
"These films deserve to be shown in every college campus with a Latin American department, and in every community that cares about the fate of the threatened indigenous communities of the Americas."—Victor Perera, Guatemalan-American author
"For scholars and students of Latin America Todos Santos is a must."—Prof. Helen Lange, Dept. of Political Science Fordham University
"Carrescia works with an orientation towards people, and her rapport is evident in the ease with which they talk with her, even about things that are frightening in their content."—Allan F. Burns, Professor of Anthropology, University of Florida