When I was 19 years old I went to live for a few weeks with the Mapuches in Patagonia, in the South of Argentina.
The word Mapuche comes from: Mapu: tierra and Che: gente: "La gente de la tierra" or "The People of the earth."
They live in small houses made of mud, barro, looking at the impressive Andes.
Two teachers decided to give up their urban life and moved to the "reserva" to create a small school.
I taught the children what the word periodista (journalist) meant. They taught me many things... Among them that I was a "huinka", translation for Americans...."A gringa."
Do you see? Cultures share many things in common...there is always a word for the outsider...
Mapuches are extremely generous. Once I went to visit and a family offered me their only egg...
How did I arrive there?
It's a long story...but let's say I had a great teacher in College: Guilllermo Magrassi, who taught a course in Social Anthropology.
With a friend who wanted to become a rural teacher we decided to go stay with the Mapuches...and we did it!
Believe me it was not easy for a Jewish girl from Buenos Aires to go visit there. It's not a common thing to do...and...Don't ask me about the reaction in my family, please!
I love languages and I find that every language has a distinctive sound and flavor.
I wanted you to introduce you to movies made by Latin Americans about Indians and their rich cultures, in their native tongues.
The Milk of Sorrow/ La Teta Asustada
Claudia Llosa, Peru/Spain , 2009
Fausta's mother had a very hard life that influenced Fausta's vision of the world. She has a gift for singing and she needs to decide if to use it to pay for her mother's burial. The first scene of Fausta's mother singing in Quechua is not to be missed!
Winner of the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival.
Laura Guzmán, Israel Cárdenas, Mexico, 2007.
Two young Raramuri brothers just graduated from school in their village, near Sierra Tarahumara in Northwest Mexico. Only one of them will be able to attend Middle school...
Their grandfather sends them to deliver medicine to a remote house in the mountains... and the movie follows them in their adventurous journey.
Winner of the Discovery Award at 2007 Toronto International Film Festival.
I hope you enjoy them!