The Roots Remain – Film Series Part IV

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-10-07-24-amDocsMX, amazing. If you did not know, DocsMX happens every October – and is absolutely amazing.  Hundreds of documentary films, most free, (depending on location) that simply, just open your eyes.

October 17th – Parque Pushkin, the film, Las Raices Permancecen – The Roots Remain.  Not knowing what this was, I was in for a surprise.  I was so impressed with the depth of this voyage to Cambodia, and how this producer and artist made such a personal connection to his family, the history of Cambodia, and the people of Cambodia.  Extensions and educational networking, to the nth degree this was it.  I was pumped and saw the artist (Yavana Chhem-Kieth) and producer (Andrew Marchand-Boddy (they were HERE!) talking to individuals after the film, and as I was walking a few blocks home, thought, I have a copy of our Repentino. magazine at home, we connected to The Cambodia Smart Arts School, and thought I need to connect with this artists while he is here visiting, truly acting on the idea of our name, Repentino., without warning.  I thought, if we do not take advantage of moments that present themselves, we will always wonder What if…

That was all I needed – I grabbed the magazine, I walked back to Parque Pushkin, saw them walking back towards my apartment, and introduced myself, introduced our magazine, and the offer to come to ASF and talk about this film was on the table!  YES!  Three days later, here is our Editor in Chief, the producer, the artist at ASF and we are planning potential events in the future, and I thought, yes, this is taking the possibility of education to happen in teachable moments anywhere, anytime, all we have to do is be prepared and ready to keep an open mind in how these moments CAN be life-changing moments.    Stay tuned for the most amazing podcast Repentino. was able to do with Fonki and the producer.

I could not help but think MUN, has so much more than what we have done with it in the past, these issues of Cambodia, as well as other films with content (as you will see below) have the chance to springboard off of what we do at MUN and create even more in-depth approaches to what we do at MUN, to bring an awareness of MUN being itself, a springboard, of learning to reach out in some small way, to the very countries we represent, and send a message,  What if each delegation did something that actually sent a message to the country they represented, and also incorporate films into depending the connection to their represented country DURING MUN?  Things to ponder that should not be put on the shelf, but could in fact, change the approach and attitudes of how we impact the world.  

Onto the amazing films I was able to take in… (All titles are links so check them out!)

*La Laguna AMAZING look into what Chiapas is, the beauty of the Mayan individuals.  Also, how local habitats begin to clash with the need for education, the intelligence of cultures versus the need for an education in a formal setting, and how these clashes occur.  The beauty of Chiapas in this film is revealed and the inner stories you would never know.  True, the pacing is gorgeous and you just want to sit and see more, without having any rapid-fire thoughts, this slows you down and allows you to reflect – LOVE.

*La carga This biting, graphic, and raw look into the rail and Cuba is brilliant and perfectly captured.  Truly, some life choices of the individuals that are responsible for life on a train are – they make you gasp a bit, but also, you get a gritty of live not only on a rail car, but of Cuba and the choices that the country offers and the choices individuals make.

*El Buzo wow.  Ever think about how large the septic /sewage tanks are for Mexico City?  I would never dream of thinking about it, until I discovered this documentary.  Truly a hero and truly learning to respect so much more about Mexico, this film takes you to so many thoughts and possible discussions, realizations, and just aspects words cannot touch.  You have to watch this to even come close to the aw this movie puts into place.  One of the best documentary films for many diverse reasons.

*Underground traveller This look at the many perspectives of Mexico through the metro, LOVE.  It reminded me of two things – first artists Jason Schell  (Don’t miss this upcoming exhibition -open until Sunday evening, November 27th and that there will be a closing reception-  Details HERE!)  who has managed to capture this mechanical life, as well as pedestrian life, of the metro and is on exhibit throughout Mexico City.  Second, the many people that never experience the up’s and downs, the good and the bad, of the metro.  They miss out on a HUGE piece of Mexican life and culture, and I am so thankful I have made it a part of my everyday Mexican experience.  Brilliantly done.

*A documentary film I have seen some amazing animation in this DOcsMX film festival this year, and I am sorry to have missed this one, though it looks amazing and looks like it has a story to tell.

*El nido MUN.  All I could think about is the look of the Sahara and the life we have no idea about, and ways that we can fix that.  This film is an amazing, patient look at taking in another culture and respecting it, respecting the differences and really making sure, especially with this election, that it should not be the U.S. way to ignore the influences the way of life other countries have – and respecting that).

*En defense del misil – Wow.  Again, thoughts of MUN and how we, as a student body can go beyond a simulation and use MUN to reach out send send message to the UN and other countries.  This shows the technology influence/fast paced world view, of how history can recirculate into the same, destructive trends despite intentions, intentions are good for peace talks, but action is the element that creates and keeps peace. I hope we have more “put your money where your mouth is” that moves towards real peace, and not the actions of peace.  This film captures that perfectly!

*Existencia “The Greasy Pole” wow, this is CRAZY, lol.  But it is also cool to be able to learn how this came to be thanks to Azteca folklore – if you look closely, you see this sparks festivals from Italy to all over – a great chance to see how this came to be and tie to cultural beliefs you may or may not have known.

*The Best of the Worst Lo mejor de lo peor; fotógrafos ñeros – Eery. Yet, another look, captured perfectly, of the aspects of Mexican society you’d never get a chance to see other than the ability given to us from this filmmaker.  Art truly, but still gave me goosebumps – reminded me of the movie Seven for some reason.  

*Ojo por ojo I mentioned how amazing some of the animation has been and this is no exception.  Chilling is an understatement, and anger.  Frustration.  Wondering how could this have been prevented. So many emotions and unsure how to discuss them without fighting back the emotions that rise up first.  Powerful, disturbing, heart wrenching, and more.

*El francotirador de Kobane Again, MUN comes to mind and all you can think is, the extremes individuals will go to to preserve their culture, country, and lifestyle in the middle of such international conflict.  Again, it is difficult to se MUN be a simulation when we have the opportunity to use MUN as a springboard to do something, no matter how large, no matter how small.

*El lugar mas cerca de dios   The beauty of mountain climbing, life, and photography, as well as the adventure of discovering nature – all these are represented in this film.  I thought of my buddy Aaron Mines, as well as all those that venture to discover the extreme heights that can be found not only in Mexico, but all over the world.  Also, how fragile life is and how pertinent it is to never waste a day, ever.

*Kilómetros por recorrer antes de dormir. Again, MUN and the tragedies of human trafficking.  This is one of many of countless crimes that impact so many people’s lives, and my hope is that as the United States, and humanitarian efforts, individuals and groups, find ways to infiltrate ways to raise an awareness and energies to combat these injustices – whether you are 10 or 100 years old, there is always space to make a change and and effort to help others.

*The Learning Alliance  When you have young children willing to scavenge the dumps to fund their education, their hope for a future better, I can’t help but ask myself, what am I doing, what can I do to enable this to occur for others?  Again, issues arise that can be covered in MUN, and provide solutions that will make this no longer a reality.  Shocking, inspiring, heart wrenching all at once.

*Puntos suspensivos –  I am continually amazed at the connections that animation can make to show how history, rights, information across cultures and events can be made more transparent.  I love this as it seems to show possibilities, thanks to the “artisticness” many show and a challenge for each of us to use a talent to make the world a better place.

*Reflejos de londres LOVE the perspectives, questions, and images that is poetically mashed together to create a feeling of London and show how all view images, locations, and experiences differently.  Inspiring that we call could put together images in a film and make a statement about so so much!

*Tierra de brujas, mar de sirenas   Having so many cool experiences at Xochimilco, this Blair Witch-like approach is amazing and perfect for Day of the Dead, the Island of the Dolls and so much more.  Done very well – and just love.

*Los homicidios del Karma –   For as many aspects of creepy, eery, real-life crime that is brought to us in documentaries, there are so many more internationally.  Again, this is no exception at all.  This film brought many differing perspectives to India, and that there is this aspect of violence and crime, internationally, that exists.  It caused the hair on my arms to rise as I discovered the Dahmer-like scenario that unfolded.  I can’t imagine the feeling of covering this story, as well as the revelations about caste, law, and morals in the Indian system.

Here we are full circle and I realize every year, more and more, I am more and more eager to find more about the world around us, and realizing how powerful film can be as a social movement for change, and I always feel when this documentary film festival comes around, how much wasted money and time the film industry does not utilize to spur change in our country and others.  There is much to do, and DocsMX certainly helps push that ideal.  I am so glad I made the steps back to interview the connections to The Roots Remain, so many implications from that encounter.







About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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