Yu’uk, a young Mayan boy, happily devotes his days to childhood adventures with his cherished little brother, José. Together they explore the Lacandon Jungle by their home in Metzabok, Mexico; climb impossibly high trees; spy on newly hatched baby vultures; and chase fish in the lagoon. But their play turns to practicalities as Yu’uk attempts to teach José how to swim, fish, and forage on his own. Yu’uk’s father is aging, and increasing interest in the jungle is bringing in more people and leaving less land, resulting in the diminishment of the family’s traditional subsistence ways of living. As a result, Yu’uk must move to the city to learn Spanish and help his mom support the family from afar—which will mean leaving José behind. With this exquisitely photographed film, director Aaron Schock brings a visually lyrical and poignant view of a childhood on the precipice, as development in Mexico endangers not only the natural maturation of the rain forest but also that of its smallest explorers.
Winifred Fordham Metz, 2016 Festival
United States, Mexico