This article is from the May 1999 The Mexico File
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Mexico – A Tribute
The Tribute Series: Los Angeles, 1998; 53 minutes; $27.95.
Reviewed by Robert B.
Robert B. Simmonds, Ph.D.
is the publisher of The Mexico File
and the brother of he who is more well known. He is a psychologist in private
practice in San Diego and the editor of
Wellness Matters, a newsletter for therapists in private practice and another
of the newsletters produced by Simmonds Publications.
You sit in your car mired in
rush hour traffic listening to the latest propaganda (commonly referred to as
the news) and trying to keep track of your cell phone calls. Your mind flits
from who said what today to trying to remember what you have to pick up for
dinner tonight. Try not to have eye contact with the 17-year-old punk who just
nearly sideswiped you – you’ve heard that this can lead to road rage. Ah,
fin-de-siecle America – creator of the frantic, scattered and fragmented self
just waiting for a panic attack.
Somewhere in the depths of
the madness you remember Mexico – mariachis and margaritas, palms and palapas,
stucco and siestas, just you and me babe – where living for the moment emerges
readily from a structured, ancient and dignified culture like a perk you never
expected. You’ve got to get down there again soon. Soon? It can be as soon as
you get home to your VCR...in a way...a vicarious way.
“Mexico – A Tribute”
is a recently released, 53-minute video produced by Jim Hilgendorf of the Los
Angeles-based Tribute Series of International Films. This video is
professionally produced and the photography is absolutely beautiful. The sounds
and mood of Mexico are evocatively rendered.
It takes you through the entire country with glimpses of history, culture
and several brief interviews with Mexicans describing for us the land they love
The tour starts in the Yucatán
with stop-offs at Merida, the pyramids of Uxmal, and the Mayan influence of
Chitzen Itza, along with the animal life of Palenque. We go to Chiapas and
listen to an interview with a man dedicated to teaching the Maya language to the
descendants of the Maya people. He notes that the Maya are still here (contrary
to the myth proposed by Von Daniken that they were somehow whisked off in
chariots of the gods). They are alive, well, and have a vibrant culture which is
spiritually oriented and respectful of the land. We see the pyramids north of
Mexico City, along with nice historical descriptions of who did what and how and
why. Then there is the zócalo of Mexico City with its architecture and
history...and the old classic tale of what happened in 1519 between Hernando
Cortés and Moctezuma. (we cheer for the Aztecs every time, despite their
ultimate defeat – or has the game ended yet?).
This video takes you to
Taxco with its silver mines and a nice description of William Spratling’s
silver industry, and off to San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato. We see Diego
Rivera and then scenes from the revolución and Father Hidalgo’s
incitement against Spain in 1821. Not to be missed (how could you anyway?) is
the Copper Canyon with its wowsy spell. We visit Oaxaca and those crazy divers
in Acapulco. And we get to see Monterrey with its industry and Guadalajara, the
second largest city of Mexico. Popping up all over the place we see Benito
Juarez and Porfirio Diaz, not to mention Zapata. And ending the video, you’ve
got to love a film produced in memory of Octavio Paz.
We recommend this video. Its redolent power swoops you for an hour into a land which is to be loved. It’s cheaper than therapy and you can go there as often as you like.
You can order a copy by
mailing a check for $27.95 to The Tribute Series, P.O. Box 64105, Los Angeles,
CA 90064; phone 310-444-9255; fax 310-444-0072. You can visit the website at www.tributeseries.com
. There is a Spanish-language version available as well.