A Film Allegory of American Culture in The Southwest

An original production by Cinema Imaginaire

A film by Galaad Milinaire

HD. 52 mins. France. 2022

New Mexico is generally considered a crossroads of different cultures. The Spaniards called it the Northern Frontier of their American empire in the sixteenth century. The United States later referred to it as the Western Frontier of their North American empire. In the middle of these two imaginary frontiers, we find the epicenter of the ancient Puebloans who managed to survive these successive invasions. Their rich heritage has pierced through the layers of Hispanic and Anglo cultures. The strong community ties of the Puebloans, coupled with a complex language of rituals, has ensured the continuity of their culture. An essential component of these rituals are the Katsinas. They are the messengers between the physical and the spiritual worlds. They communicate directly with all the ancestors, with the four sacred mountains, with the rain-bearing clouds, the wind, the lightning, the rain, the rainbow and the germination of the corn. Katsinas are central to an understanding of the natural cycle of life in the Land of Enchantment.

The film Mahiz gathers some of the fragments of this crossroads by revisiting the places and events where the identity of New Mexico appears to be more resilient: Inside the studios of the Southwestern artists to discover their vision quests; As pilgrims at the Sanctuary of Chimayó to reveal the earthly presence of a Kiva on its holy ground; Cruising along the Santa Fe Plaza to feel the uncanny presence of a ritualistic stand-off between the Native American jewelry vendors and the buckaroo-like Vintage Car show; Inaugurating the new Santa Fe Opera with Igor Stravinsky overlooking Tesuque Pueblo; At the Catholic church of San Lorenzo de Picuris with its unique brand of spiritual syncretism. In all of this, the symbolic, the magical and the sacred presence of the Katsina has persisted as a virtuous messenger that speaks to all cultures.


gilles milinaire, filmmaker,
added footage.

gian marcos godoy, filmmaker,
collaborated editing.


greg lomayesva, artist
studio, santa fe, new mexico

dan namingha, artist
niman fine art gallery, santa fe, new mexico

armond lara, artist
studio, santa fe, new mexico

doug coffin, artist
abiquiu studio, abiquiu, new mexico

ricardo martinez, artist
studio, santa fe, new mexico

mark spencer, artist
studio, santa fe, new mexico

allan haozous houser, artist
studio and sculpture gardens, santa fe, new mexico

casimiro roca, priest
el santuario de chimayó, chimayó, new mexico

miranda masocco levy, santa fe opera founding member
santa fe, new mexico

bear heart, multi-tribal spiritual leader
rio rancho, new mexico

music soundtrack

The music has been created as if it were a whirlwind of communications with the ancestors, spinning and funneling dialogues between Native American flute music and the Mexican Huapango with the ‘King of Jazz’ Paul Whitman, the Hopi Chant of the Eagle Dance with the Arapaho Ghost Dance, and the gospel blues singer Blind Willie Johnson. These original recording assemble a vision of crossroads in movement, flowing in the four directions of the mountains, as a reminder of the Santa Fe Trail, the Royal Road, the Rio Grande, the Canyons, always arriving and departing from this epicenter of the Southwestern culture.

if i had my way i’d tear the building down
written and performed by blind willie johnson
courtesy of 1927

i’ve hung up my chaps and saddle
composed and performed by wilf carter (montana slim)
courtesy of

operatic waltz
composed and performed by paul whiteman
courtesy of 1933

composed and performed by milano
courtesy of milano

chant of the snake dance
composed and performed by hopi indian chanters
courtesy of 1926

arapaho no. 44/45 ghost dance
recorded by james mooney
courtesy of 1894

windmill shadows
composed and performed by pixyblink
courtesy of classwar karaoke. 2013

objective chance body suit
composed and performed by qkcofse
courtesy of classwar karaoke. 2012

performed by los plateados de nicandro castillo
courtesy of

pack up your sins
composed by irving berlin. performed by paul whiteman
courtesy of 1903

mississippi showdown
composed and performed by bicikl
courtesy of 2012

firebird adagio (pas de deux)
composed by igor stravinski. performed by philharmonic symphony orchestra of new york
courtesy of columbia masterworks

firebird rondo (khorovod)
composed by igor stravinski. performed by philharmonic symphony orchestra of new york
courtesy of columbia masterworks. 1947


santa fe depot (rail runner station), santa fe, new mexico

cathedral basilica of saint francis of assisi, santa fe, new mexico

santa fe indian market, santa fe, new mexico

santa fe plaza, santa fe, new mexico

palace of the governors, santa fe, new mexico

new mexico museum of art, santa fe, new mexico

santa rosa de lima, abiquiu, new mexico

san lorenzo de picuris church, taos, new mexico

picuris pueblo kiva, taos, new mexico

el santuario de chimayó, chimayó, new mexico

grand canyon, arizona

rio grande gorge bridge, taos, new mexico

niman fine art gallery, santa fe, new mexico

envision gallery, taos, new mexico

abiquiú, new mexico

santa fe opera, santa fe, new mexico

tesuque pueblo, tesuque, new mexico

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