At a crossroads, American filmmaker Walter Dominguez embarks on a life-changing quest to uncover mysteries in the life of his saintly Mexican-born grandfather, Reverend Emilio Hernandez, ...
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At a crossroads, American filmmaker Walter Dominguez embarks on a life-changing quest to uncover mysteries in the life of his saintly Mexican-born grandfather, Reverend Emilio Hernandez, and to fulfill his grandfather's dying wish to locate his long lost family of origin. Traveling through California, Texas and Mexico, Walter discovers Emilio's involvement with courageous Mexican and American revolutionaries fighting for social justice in tragically oppressed Mexico. His search finally leads him to his grandfather's family in Mexico, and redemption for himself.Written by
Chasing Light Pictures, LLC
Thank goodness for documentaries with heart and soul! "Weaving the Past: Journey of Discovery" has that and more as director/writer Walter Dominguez takes us along on his personal journey to uncover the past of his late maternal grandfather, Reverend Emilio Hernandez, and fulfill his grandfather's request to reunite his Mexican and American-born families that have been separated for over 100 years. Through his special brand of story telling, Dominguez invites the audience to join in his discoveries that connects him with his past and current family.
I personally loved this film because it's not your run of the mill documentary churning out historical facts, recounting history through standard still photo's and talking heads. While the film includes these elements, Dominguez weaves his family's personal stories of love, friendship, tragedy, faith and redemption into a larger story about the Mexican revolution, which makes you care because you know the players.
"Weaving the Past" is really a spiritual search that takes us on a 12-year odyssey. Motivated by a mid-life crisis brought on by the tumultuous aftermath of September 11, 2001 and Dominguez's struggle to come to terms with his own mortality, we see how one man's need to make amends to his grandfather turns into an archetypical homecoming.
The film begins with Dominguez retracing his grandfather's history as a Methodist minister in the bucolic community of Santa Paula, California. We quickly learn that his grandfather, Emilio Hernandez or "Tata" (as the director affectionately refers to him) has a darker past.
Through impressive research and tireless determination, Dominguez follows his grandfather's journey from an orphaned child to a participant in the Mexican Revolution. In his effort to find more about his grandfather, Dominguez also uncovers a crucial but unsung hero of the revolution - Praxedis Guerrero. Guerrero's family (specifically Praxedis' sister Cliotilde) took in the young Emilio who was found wandering through the rugged hills near the Guerrero's hacienda. Cliotilde becomes a key figure in Emilio's personal life, while Praxedis and Emilio later become close friends and compatriots for the cause of human rights in Mexico.
Throughout the film we are treated with a cast of remarkable and touching characters, re- enactments and an extremely vital part of Mexican and American history that is so topical in the world we are currently living in regarding immigration, class and race. This is a history lesson that all Americans should know more about, especially those living in this great state of California.
As a viewer, we are reminded of the societal imbalances that still affect our society today. Are not the topics of murder, rape and enslavement of the poor still issues Mexico (and other countries across the globe) is dealing with more then 100 years after the movies hero, Emilio Hernandez crossed the borders of Mexico and the U.S.? Even in present day America, are we not dealing with the issue of the majority of the wealth being controlled by an elite few while the middle class wilts and dies?
The players are different today, but the director of "Weaving the Past" eloquently explains this historical significance and how American capitalists participated in and profited from Mexico's abuse of the poor.
By sharing his grandfather's story with us, the audience is brought into the awareness of our common humanity regardless of race. The movie takes its time to unfold, but the poignant and moving reveal at the end is well worth it. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, this documentary is not your standard fare. When is the last time you were laughing and crying watching a documentary because you were so moved by the people and the stories? I highly recommend you take this amazing journey with Mr. Dominguez.
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