In Mexico's vast and astonishing Copper Canyon area of Chihuahua, isolated from much of the world, live the Tarahumara Indians. Descendants of the Aztecs who fled the Spaniards, they live without electricity in spectacularly beautiful but rocky land where farming is difficult and game is scarce. Poor, and without resources, they are torn between the lure of modern life and maintaining their age-old traditions.
In an unprecedented way, the filmmaker was able, over a period of five years, to document the ways of these gentle and reticent people. She overlays Tarahumara folk tales with footage of day-to-day life. The candid observations of one old Indian, who would rather have modern comforts than preserve his traditions in poverty, provides an ironic note. One of the revelations is that the people who are thought to be very reserved are actually playful and delight in gossip. The Unholy Tarahumara is a poetic representation of a lifestyle and culture that normally is cloaked in secrecy.
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