New Year’s blessing

The Maya man, with a candle in his hand, steps out in the darkness of the night, in the terrible no man’s land between the old year that has gone and the new one that has not yet come. With a copal incense held high, he blesses the four directions of the world in the name of Jesus Christ, asking for good harvest and for protection from all evil to his whole family and their animals. Two dozen men, women and children are standing in a circle. The invisible light source of the incense placed in the middle illuminates their faces from the inside of the scene, like that of the three kings on Nativity paintings. The chiaroscuro of the candles held before them evoke the figures of Caravaggio, La Tour and Rembrandt in the Guatemalan night.

The name of the Israeli documentary film maker Eti Peleg is not unknown to the readers of Río Wang. A year ago we wrote about her film made on the “golden temples”, the monumental syangogues of fin-de-siècle Hungary, and many of you have also taken part at the premiere of her two other Hungarian films, on the onetime Jewish winemakers of Tokaj, and on the history of the song The rooster is crowing. Now she gives us a New Year’s gift, a scene of her Guatemala film in preparation, the New Year’s blessing.

“Exactly a year ago today, I was in Tzalamtun, Guatemala.
It wasn’t the first time I was there. I was among friends.

I didn’t even have to ask. Sebastián beckoned me aside and said, would I agree to film the Ceremony. I was honored and touched. He trusts me.
María Luisa took us to the market to buy the copal, the candles and the plentiful of food for the new year’s feast.
As the ladies prepared dinner in the kitchen, I was wondering what ceremony I am going to witness: a Quechi Maya or a Catholic one?

What a great new year’s present for me!
This film is a token of my affection and respect to Sebastián and Luisa Tiul and their wonderful family.”

No hay comentarios: