I am not a movie critic by any means, but I do know when I love a film and when it leaves me hanging. I finally got a chance to catch a showing of the film “Di Kurse a di Xtabai” directed by Matthiew Klinck. Filmed in Creole/Kriol and featuring all first-time actors, the movie was shot in my home village of San Antonio, Cayo. San Antonio was the place where I grew up, listening to my tiny, wizened grandmother speak of the various folktales of our history. Told in Mayan, those stories always brought chills to my cousins and I, and when told right before bedtime, when all of us had to line up and go to the outhouse one last time before bed, the mere sound of the wind rustling in the trees had to mean the Tata Duende, or the Xtabai or Sisimito were lurking just waiting to snatch one of us.
So, I know a little bit about the story of the Xtabai. I know that the stories I was told always involved men in some drunken form or another, stumbling down the dark roads trying to find their way home. Legend has it that they are suddenly charmed by the apparition of a beautiful woman, so beautiful she is irresistible, and men walk up to her in a trance, embracing her. And there, it gets ugly, as she folds them in her arms, and turns into a prickly tree, piercing the men’s skin, and causing great agony and high fever that can only be cured by the bush doctor.
Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun