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A Defender of His People: The Legend of el Tepozteco and The Language of the Seeds

Distributed by Ethnoscope Film and Video, PO Box 92353, Rochester, NY 14692; 585-442-5274
Produced by Facultad de Arte of the Universidad Auto´noma del Estado de Morelos
Directed by Bruce "Pacho” Lane
DVD, color, 57 min. and 20 min.
Jr. High - General Adult
Anthropology, Latin American Studies, Postcolonialism

Reviewed by Jessica Schomberg, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Date Entered: 3/26/2012

A Defender of His People: The Legend of el Tepozteco explores the culture and religious history of Tepotzlán, Mexico, where a mixture of Christian beliefs and indigenous gods shape the lives of inhabitants. For villagers who wanted to protect their home from a proposed tourist development sponsored by a multinational corporation and the Mexican government, the god Tepozteco served as a rallying cry. Dialog is a mixture of English and Spanish with yellow English subtitles. Sound quality varies.

The Language of the Seeds centers on members of a vendors association in Tepotzlán wanting to publicize events affecting their community in a way that represented their culture. They decide to create an arch out of seeds on which they would tell a story with images, like their ancestors had done. The film discusses what motivated their actions, how they choose which seeds to use, and shows a mural being created and installed. In Spanish with yellow English subtitles.

Both films provide an insider’s view of the culture of Tepotzlán, Mexico, through interviews and footage of the village. I found the tone of both programs to be charming and conversational, appropriate for students in high school through college.

Recommended for libraries collecting in the areas of Mexican culture and post-colonialism.