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TARAHUMARA

Mexico, 1965 (MIFF 1966, Programme 39)

Director: Luis Alcoriza

Tarahumara tells of the impact of corrupt land-grabbers on a primitive Indian society. Using a deceptively familiar plot, the film takes a penetrating look at the Indians, their problems with exploiting white men, and the complications that arise when a sympathetic stranger enters into friendship with them.

The backbone of the film is formed by the lives of the Indians: their habits, their hunting, their rituals. Director Luis Alcoriza holds all these elements together in a leisurely manner, somewhat akin to that of Flaherty in Louisiana Story. The film starts slowly, becomes increasingly absorbing, until, finally, one is filled with understanding and compassion; perhaps the more so as the points made by the director are never overstated.

The Mexican Government apparently insisted on a few cuts being made in the film, notably those showing the Indians giving their wives to strangers as a token of hospitality.

FIPRESCI Award, Cannes Festival; Silver Cup, Trento Festival.

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