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La Laguna cover image

La Laguna 2016

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Cinema Guild, 115 West 30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001; 212-685-6242
Produced by Aaron Schock
Directed by Aaron Schock
DVD , color, 38 min.

General Adult

Date Entered: 12/20/2016

Reviewed by Barb Kundanis, Longmont Public Library, Longmont, CO

La Laguna tells the story of Yu'uk who lives in the forest of Metzabok, Mexico with his younger brother Jose and his family. "La laguna" of the title is the body of water where the brothers swim, fish and boat on their own. We do not know the boys' ages but Yu'uk is near adolescence with Jose being much younger.

The film is beautifully shot with underwater photography of the boys fishing. They are Mayan but are sent to a school to learn Spanish. They both have a hard time in school and the teacher is harsh. Juxtaposed with their life in nature, the school lacks meaning for them. Their parents are concerned for their future so Yu'uk will be sent to a larger city to learn more and have to leave his family.

The strength of this film is the cinematography along with the relationship of the brothers. Yu'uk mentors Jose and clearly is concerned with leaving him. Also, this provides a window into this culture showing the difficulties of continuing this way of life (no food) or assimilation (learning Spanish to help the family). This film is ideal for classroom showing due to its short length. Students will learn about the culture while identifying with the brothers.