In case you missed the first program of Sebastián Díaz’s Proyector film series, you still have enough time to catch the second part of this momentous showcase of contemporary Mexican cinema. Granted, this fall’s four films have very little to do with the artistically-minded docu-fiction hybrids that characterized last spring’s survey of Axolote Cine, but it will definitely continue building on the series’ thoughtful reflection on the state of representation in Mexican film.
Screening through December at Harlem’s renowned Maysles Cinema, the upcoming program has been titled Digging the Roots of a Denied Civilization, and takes on a handful of documentaries that provide diverse visions of indigenous life in 21st century Mexico. With a collective pedigree that includes prizes at the Morelia, Los Angeles, and Raindance Film Festivals, these four films promise to give a nuanced and surprising look into the state of indigenous life in a country that has tended to erase, discredit, or romanticize these narratives.
The four films in Digging the Roots also display a special connection to nature as they take on themes of family, identity, and aging, with stories of drought, poison, and daily struggle. Here’s a list of the films New York audiences can look forward to seeing starting this weekend.
Proyector Program 2: Digging the Roots of a Denied Civilization starts on November 8 at the Maysles Cinema and runs through December 13, 2015.
Silvestre Pantaleón plays at the Maysles Cinema on November 8, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
An elderly artisan from a Nahuatl-speaking village in the state of Guerrero struggles to scrape together enough money to pay for a religious ceremony and provide for his family.
An indigenous Purépecha potter rejects the widespread use of poisonous lead in the glazes used by her community’s artisans, and adopts a healthier lead-free alternative in order to ensure the safety of herself and her family. Still, she must face the difficult task of selling her pieces in order to achieve her dream of reuniting the family.
After living for many years outside of her native pueblo, an indigenous Mazahua woman takes journeys back to her hometown over two hours away from Mexico City. When she arrives, the woman encounters a desolate landscape ravaged by drought, and a deep sense of alienation.
Cuates de Australia
Cuates de Australia plays at the Maysles Cinema on December 13, 2015 at 7:30pm.
A small rural town in Mexico’s arid northeast is plagued not only by endemic poverty and systemic neglect, but also by a persistent drought that has left many residents with no choice but to leave for more opportunities. Meanwhile, for those who stay, life is a constant struggle: without water, animals die and babies are born dehydrated. But Cuates de Australia is a portrait of a community that somehow carries on despite the natural and social forces that would see them leave.