DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews
 
BRIMSTONE & GLORY (director: Viktor Jakovleski; cinematographer: Tobias von den Borne; editor: Affonso Gonçalves; music: Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin; Runtime: 67; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Kellen Quinn, Elizabeth Lodge Stepp, Dan Janvey, Affonso Goncalves, Benh Zeitlin; Oscilloscope; 2017-Mexico/USA-in Spanish with English subtitles)

"The best part of the documentary is that it dispenses with talking heads."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The German director Viktor Jakovleski, over a three year period, films a diverting documentary telling of the rural Mexican town of Tultepec, known for manufacturing fireworks and referred to as “the fireworks capital of the world,” celebrate their annual festival with a display of their homemade fireworks.The best part of the documentary is that it dispenses with talking heads. It instead uses mostly mute tracking shots showing the residents getting ready for the festival by building towers, amateurs mixing chemicals to make fire bombs and zealous residents creating flame retardant bulls packed with fireworks. In a display of reckless abandon, they will light the bulls up in the night-time parade on the day of the "running of the Bulls" as they parade them through the streets and there will be many casualties of those burned in need of medical attention.

The festival honors the 16th century Portuguese-born San Juan de Dios, the patron saint of fireworks manufacturers and known for his work in Catholic charities. Camera operators Bill Ross and Benh Zeitlindo do a magnificent job capturing the dazzling firework display, its dangers and the crowd reactions. It makes for an atmospheric film about a dangerous party thrown by the fun-loving Mexican  residents, who wouldn't change a thing about it even if someone might lose a hand or an eye.

REVIEWED ON 12/14/2017       GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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