Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Blast From the Past Diego Rivera Art Film

Recently I attended a film festival and sat through a film that was originally created in 1971, but has been "masterfully" redigitized, "RIVERA, OROZCO, SIQUEIROS: WALLS OF FIRE"
Directed by Herbert Kline; produced by Gertrude Ross Marks and Edmund F. Penney. (1971, 75 min.)

The film was narrated by the sultry Ricardo Montalban (yes, of Star Trek fame and a million other classics). The film is the story of Mexico's "Los Tres Grandes" - The Three Great Ones: Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, whose public work murals remain an integral part of the contemporary life and culture of Mexico.

The film was told personally by Siqueiros at the time he was completing his monumental mural, "The March of Humanity," in his home town of Cuernavaca, Mexico. The documentary weaves the lives of the three "larger-than-life" artists and their personal involvement in the Mexican Revolution for Independence. The film won a Golden Globe for Outstanding Documentary in 1972 and was an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature 1973.

My time flies --1971 just seems like yesterday, but the degradation of this award-winner was all too apparent, even with state-of-the-art reconstruction. While the film was wonderful, I kept saying to myself, "if I could only really see the art." Well, this brought to mind what a wonderful job the History Channel does now with historical interpretation.

The film did accomplish one thing that documentaries are supposed to do I think. It got me thinking about these three art giants, and what their lives and art have meant to humanity. And while I was clearly not entertained passively like I am now accustomed to, my interest was piqued enough to get me to explore the work of these artists further.

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