Claudia Chan | If you’re trying to decide on a film to watch at the VIFF this week, here’s one that I would highly recommend. It’s called Heart of Earth, Heart of Sky. Told with beautiful cinematography, the documentary is a portrait of the indigenous Mayan cultures of México and Guatemala as they struggle to hold onto their land and livelihoods in an ever-deteriorating environment.
It’s the universal story of our battle with corporate control over food production and culture. Not only are the Mayans faced with the genocidal destruction of their culture, but also with the quest for clean, drinkable water, the invasive introduction of genetically modified corn by Monsanto, the degradation of their rainforest, and the mining of gold that has been so very detrimental to their health. Unfortunately, that gold mine in Guatemala belongs to a Canadian company called GoldCorp (stationed right here in Vancouver).
The film is told from a very intimate perspective as it’s one of the few films (if not the only film) produced so far that is told uniquely from the indigenous point of view. It’s a compelling narrative that weaves Mayan cosmology with nature, beauty, and the global crises that they have at hand.
The ancient Maya believed that the present world ends and the new one begins in cycles of 5125 years. As the current ancient Mayan calendar approaches its end this December, we’re left wondering what this has to say about the earth and the time limit on its natural abundance. For how much longer do we have fresh drinking water? Will our forests survive? Will we be able to escape the total corruption of our food supply? Can we as human beings continue like this?
Heart of Earth, Heart of Sky screens tonight, Monday October 1, at 6PM and Wednesday October 3 at 3:30PM . Get your tickets here.
Claudia Chan is an advocate of all things green. Born and raised in Vancouver, she is inspired by the work of local urban farmers, eco artists and policy makers who make this city the most lush and livable to work and play in. Her mission with Scout and her “Greenlight” column is to impart her enthusiasm for bike lanes, community gardens, farmers’ markets and more to her fellow Vancouverites.