This article is from the May 1999 The Mexico File newsletter.
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Video Review

Mexico – A Tribute
The Tribute Series: Los Angeles, 1998; 53 minutes; $27.95.

Reviewed by Robert B. Simmonds, Ph.D.

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 Emotional 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 and respect.

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.