Hispanic film series on global migrations ended with showing of ‘Guie’Dani’s Navel,’ conversation with director Xavi Sala

The fifth Hispanic film series, “Global Migrations through the Lens of International Politics and Human Rights,” ended Nov. 18 with the screening of the final movie, "Guie’Dani’s Navel" and were joined virtually by the film's director, Xavi Sala.

The Hispanic film series ended on Thursday, Nov. 18 with a showing of Mexican director Xavi Sala’s first feature film “Guie’Dani’s Navel” and a virtual Q&A session with the director.

Sala is a native of the Spanish region of Cataluña but a nationalized Mexican citizen. He has won more than 80 awards for his short films. His short film titled, “Hiyab” was nominated for the Goya Award for Best Fictional Short Film in 2005.

“Guie’Dani’s Navel,” his first feature film as a director, was selected in more than 30 festivals and won nine awards, including Special Mention Award for Mexican Feature Film Actress and the Cinepolis Distribution Award at the Morelia Film Festival in Mexico.

The film follows Guie’dani, a Zapotec indigenous girl, who moves to Mexico City with her mother to work in the house of an upper-middle-class family. Guie’Dani refuses to live the life of servitude and rebels against the family’s racist and classist attitudes and behavior, and searches for freedom through her friendship with another teenage girl.

In striking contrast to Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma,” Guie’Dani’s Navel confronts head-on racial, ethnic, linguistic and class discriminations towards the indigenous people still prevalent in Mexico and beyond.

As the director pointed out during the Q&A, “Guie’Dani’s Navel” is the first-ever Mexican film with two Zapotec women protagonists.

As a Catalan, he found a special bond with the Zapotec indigenous community who have been marginalized by the larger Mexican national identity politics, both historically and recently.

Sala commented that during the process of filming, he and his crew were particularly careful with the dialect that the two women spoke and spent hours, if not days, trying to use the correct and accurate forms and vocabulary, in order to convey the specificities of the protagonists’ identity through language with documentary realism.

As Elon community reflects on the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as global citizenship, films such as “Guie’Dani’s Navel” offer an extremely rich opportunity to learn about the issues of racism, classism, national, ethnic and linguistic identities and the role they all play in the ways in which our societies value or fail to value each individual. 

The film series was made possible with the support of Pragda, The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain and SPAIN Arts and Culture. It was organized by Associate Professor of Spanish Mayte de Lama, Lecturer Ricardo Mendoza and Senior Lecturer in Spanish Ketevan Kupatadze. Helen McLeod assisted in interpreting from English to Spanish during the Q&A.