Directed by Hatuey Viveros Lavielle

80 minutes / Color
Spanish / English subtitles
Release: 2015
Copyright: 2014

Jorge is about to become the first person from his village to graduate from law school. Chayo, his pregnant and unmarried teenage sister, faces the most difficult decision of her life. Their father, Antonio, died last year. Meanwhile their quiet and methodical mother, Tere, does her best to support them, selling handmade napkin holders for 15 pesos (about $1) apiece.

Filmed over the course of a year in the Nahuatl village of Quetzalan, Mexico, CAFE is a beautifully observed, intimate film. Director and cinematographer Hatuey Viveros Lavielle's brings a deliberate and poetic sensibility to ritualistic daily moments marking life in the mountain village: sorting and roasting coffee beans, flipping tortillas over an open fire, feeding turkeys that will become a feast marking the first anniversary of Antonio's death.

CAFE immerses viewers in the lives of its protagonists as, in a year following personal tragedy they struggle to find their futures.

"A lyrical exploration of ritual and routine, CAFE takes us to the heart of Cuetzalan, a village in Puebla's lush mountain forests, and inside the home of a Nahuatl family. a riveting film invested in what cinema can uniquely uncover. Spoken entirely in Nahuatl, CAFE emerges as a vital register of the linguistic diversity of the region. A hybrid approach to both the poetic and the anthropological aligns this piece with a recent turn toward sensory ethnographies. This film confirms Hatuey Viveros' status as a specialist in the cinema of intimate spaces."—Paulina Suarez Hesketh, Ambulante

"This extremely sensitive film explores the relation between emancipation and tradition, proximity and separation at the heart of an indigenous family. The jury was moved by the patient perspective of Hatuey Viveros Lavielle."Visions du Reel Film Festival

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Select Accolades

  • Best Film, 2015 Visions du Reel Film Festival
  • Best Documentary, 2015 Cinema Tropical Awards
  • First Prize and Best Documentary Scene Prize, 2015 Montreal First People's Festival
  • Official Selection, 2015 Atlanta FIlm Festival
  • Official Selection, 2015 Riviera Maya FIlm Festival
  • Official Selection, 2015 Documentary Fortnight at The Museum of Modern Art
  • Official Selection, 2016 San Diego Latino Film Festival


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