Reviewed at Cinequest San Jose Film Festival, Feb. 27, 2000. Running time: 43 MIN.
Narrators: Martin Sheen, Enrique Rocha.
Less a travelogue than an impressionistic evocation of the nation’s history and spirit, “Mexico” is a nifty, visually sweeping Imax feature that should prove a popular attraction, particularly in the many Stateside burgs with growing Latino populations.
Though this is a far cry from her social-activist docus on Cesar Chavez and El Salvador, vet helmer Lorena M. Parlee imbues pic with a more philosophical slant than usually found in this format. Stunning shots of a massive Independence Day celebration in Mexico City and aerially viewed mountainscapes give way to a brief historical overview, from Indian civilizations through 300 -year Spanish rule, then the 1810 and 1910 sovereignty struggles. Docu acknowledges widespread poverty among current populace of 90 million, though emphasis rests more on intersections of traditional and modern culture, as well as on diverse natural settings, urban life, art and economic progress. Daniel Valdez’s folk-idiomatic score dominates music-driven effort; one witty seg intercuts a symphony perf, soccer game and wrestling match. Occasional poetic quotes from famed author Carlos Fuentes are read by Martin Sheen in featurette’s English version, Enrique Rocha in Spanish edition. Lensing is expectedly impressive, other tech aspects top-grade.