DER Documentary

The Living Maya

The Living Maya
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by Hubert Smith
color, 58 min each, 1985
This series can be purchased as a collection or as four individual programs




Non-profit and K-12 pricing also available
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This series documents life in a Yucatan village, focusing on one family over the course of a year. The films explore the ancient agricultural and religious customs that ground contemporary Maya life in traditional values – even as modern Mexico comes to the village. In Maya, Spanish, and English, with English subtitles.

The Living Maya Program 1
Introduces the village of Chican and the Colli-Colli family, and examines the structure of Maya agricultural and village life.




The Living Maya Program 2
Hard-pressed by an illness in the family, the Colli-Colli face financial and emotional challenges using traditional solidarity to muster resources and comfort. Drought threatens the village's crucial corn crop.




The Living Maya Program 3
As the Colli-Colli resolve their difficulties and the village harvests a mediocre corn crop, viewers are left with an understanding of the underlying rationales of Maya life and with questions about their own assumptions, priorities, and values.




The Living Maya Program 4
The Colli-Colli's two youngest sons plead to be placed in school in Merida – the first of their family to reject traditional life.





Related Resources
Study Guide

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
CINE Golden Eagle Award
PBS national broadcasts
Margaret Mead Film Festival honoree
Choice Outstanding Nonprint Media Award



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