DER Documentary

In the Footsteps of Taytacha


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by Peter Getzels and Harriet Gordon
color, 30 min, 1985




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In the Footsteps of Taytacha follows a group of Quechua-speaking musicians and dancers as they leave their remote villages high in the Andes Mountains of Peru and join thousands of other highlanders on the annual religious pilgrimage to the sacred peaks of Qoyllur-Rití. Quollur-Rití, the largest and most important religious ritual in the southern Andes, occurs only five days out of the year and involves walking both day and night in terrain over 4400 meters in altitude.

From the point-of-view of the villagers the festival is an elaborate ritual that retraces the escape-route of an Andean god who fled from the Catholic priests during the conquest and now lives up in the snowpeaks. For the church however, the site of Qoyllur-Rití is important because a Christ-child appeared there in 1780. Throughout the festival the villagers explain what the ritual means to them both personally and collectively. By combining interviews with myths and narration, the film introduces a general audience to an image of Andean highlanders, and how they position themselves in a predominantly Catholic world.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
31st Annual Robert Flaherty Film Seminar
Chicago International Film Festival, Silver Plaque, Documentaries
Festival dei Popoli, Florence, Italy
Banff Festival of Mountain Films, Alberta, Canada
American Film Festival Finalist



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