Heart of Time shown in Tlahuitoltepec Mixe

By: Damián D. Martínez Vásquez.

Last Saturday, April 2, 2010, the movie Heart of Time, a journey to the heart of zapatista resistance was presented in the basketball court in Tlahuitoltepec, Mixe, Oaxaca, with the presence of director Alberto Cortés and producer Ana Solares, as part of the Cine Libre Mixe et ääw activities.

Those participating in the introductory panel are: Municipal President C. Antonio Martínez Gómez; Mayor C. Cirilo Díaz Jiménez; Education Director C. Isaías Gutiérrez Gómez and Damián D. Martínez Vásquez of Cine Libre Mixe et ääw, who presented the film club’s project and spoke of its importance to the Tlahuitoltepec community.

President Antonio Martínez Gómez extended his thanks to the et ääw team “for the idea of the film project and the ways in which it will strengthen the culture, education and language of the community. This will be an ongoing project to not simply show the films, but also to reflect on them collectively”. He emphasized that “what we’re going to see today is a film made in a Chiapas community, and it shows us how people there live. Here to present the film are the people who worked on it, and I would like to welcome Alberto Cortés, Ana Solares, and his son Bruno Cortés to be with us here in the community of Tlahuitoltepec”.

Damián Martínez Vásquez talked about the importance of the Film Club and the et ääw project. He spoke first in the ayuujk language, since that is the only language spoken by most of the community, and then read a document describing the project:

“This is a space for a pluralistic encounter, or in other words, a place for viewing cinematographic works with a multiple alternative vision for the purpose of enjoyment, education, exchange of ideas, and reflection on initiating cultural activities”. He added: “It’s a dialogue between peoples, a defense against war, invasion, and the extermination of peoples. The right to create art means achieving peace and a free and emancipated life with a communal vision.”

He also explained the meaning of et ääw:

et: assigning a place, a space, a landscape, land, and nature
ääw: An open space through which one is introduced to a place. It’s the mouth from which the voice, the word, the sight comes, or an orifice that doesn’t belong either inside or outside; the space is infinite. Together, et ääw as a single word refers to a tunnel, “a window on nature.”

And finally, he spoke to those present about the reasons for opening a film club:

“In opening this space of vision, Cine Libre Mixe et ääw, we are contributing to constructing a new idea of the world and of man, which is enriched from past as well as present experience so that it can be projected into the future. All this is being done in the Tlahuitoltepec community and the Mixe region with the aim of allowing the following notions to bloom and become strong: education, justice, organization, language, fiesta, music, work, collective work projects, people, life, communality, lending a hand, mutual help, respect, history, existence, nature, self-management, autonomy, and community self-determination. These 20 elements should be enriched and consolidated with the aim of understanding our reality and that of others with the help of film.”

Alberto Cortés expressed his thanks to the members of Cine Libre Mixe et ääw for the invitation, and also thanked the community for attending:

“It’s a very great honor that you have chosen this film for the inauguration of the Cine Club. Film is a great means of communication that can tell us stories. We can get to know how peoples live on the other side of the world. It’s an honor that so many of you have come. I hope you like the movie Heart of Time.

Ana Solares explained how the movie was developed little by littleand how the proposal came to be accepted by the communities that form Zapatista bases of support. Solares commented that the project began in the year 2000 through film clubs initiated in several Zapatista indigenous communities. “We showed different films and that’s the way people got to know us, and it’s also the way we opened the door to making the move that we’re about to see.”

She also expressed her thanks to the organizers for inviting her and said that there would be time for questions and comments after the movie.

Alberto Cortés added that “all the characters belong to the Zapatista bases of support since this is a project in which we worked together with them; therefore, it’s a Zapatista co-production, and in a way is also a message, because this movie shows how these communities are experiencing their autonomy and building another possible world.”

The inaugural address to Cine Libre Mixe et ääw was given by Education Director Isaías Gutiérrez. In his speech, he invited the community to participate in an ongoing way in the screenings; he also stressed the importance of continuing to work on this project and urged people to participate by asking questions. Isaías Gutiérrez inaugurated the film club at exactly 19:12 hours.

The audience was captivated by the movie from beginning to end. Even though there wasn’t extensive participation in the question and answer session, Cortés dialogued with the community and explained how Heart of Time was made. At the end, he noted the attendance of 500 people and exclaimed to the community that he was departing with a great sense of satisfaction, since this was the first community in Oaxaca where his film was shown.