Blossoms of Fire is a dazzling, whirling dance of a film that celebrates the extraordinary lives of the Isthmus Zapotecs of southern Oaxaca, Mexico. The Isthmus Zapotecs, whose culture is rooted in a strong work ethic and fierce independent streak, have resulted not only in powerful women, but also in the region's progressive politics and an unusual tolerance of alternative gender roles. Made over a period of ten years, Blossoms of Fire was shot and edited entirely on 16mm film. The film is Maureen Gosling's debut as a Producer/ Director after being an editor, and co-filmmaker with documentarian Les Blank for twenty years.
Artists like Miguel Covarrubias and Frida Kahlo have often celebrated and rendered tribute in their paintings to the legendary beauty of the woman of Juchitán. Blossoms of Fire shows these women in all their brightly colored, opinionated glory as they run their own businesses, embroider their signature of fiery flowers on clothing and comment with angry humor on articles in the foreign press that flippantly and inaccurately depict them as a promiscuous matriarchy.
Veteran film editor and former Les Blank collaborator Maureen Gosling and co-director Ellen Osborne illuminate the infectious self-confidence of the Juchitecan people. A midwife laughs over a young husband's behavior during birth, a gay man cheerfully asserts that "mothers are in charge" in Juchitecan society and many proudly describe the challenges they face in their work and their families. Their lives may be hard, and maintaining Zapotec culture and language may be an ongoing battle, but it is plain that not one of these individuals - man, woman, young, old, gay or straight - would willingly change places with anyone in the first world.
74 min., Unrated
In Spanish and Zapotec with English Subtitles
Director, Producer, Editor
XAVIER PÉREZ GROBET
SUSANA VÉSQUEZ SÉNCHEZ
MARIA TERESA GARCÍA DE LA NOCEDA