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BLOSSOMS OF FIRE
aka RAMO DE FUEGO
USA: New Yorker Films
Narrators: Maureen Gosling, Sylvia Muallally Aguirre
Character voices: Soco Aguilar, Jaime Garza, Lorenzo Gonzalez, Werner Herzog, Boris Krutonog, Macario Matus, Natalia Toledo
Featuring the People of Juchitan and San Blas Atempa, Oaxaca: Abel Jimenez Regalado, Amado Jimenez Regalado, Angel Santiago Valdiviso, Angel Vega Abrego, Armando López Ortiz, Cecilia Jimenez Salinas, Desideria Pineda López, Elena Marcial López, Florinda Luis Orozco, Francisco Javier Santiago Regalado, Herminio de la Cruz Guerra, Ing. Porfirio Villalobo Robledo, Lucia Toledo Morales, Macario Robles Sanchez, Manuela Cabrera Santiago, Maria Jimenez Salinas, Maria Luisa Thompson Fuentes, Marina Meneses Velasquez, Micaela Guerra Jimenez, Rosa Martha Toledo Martinez, Rosa Santiago López, Rosalba Sanchez Sanchez, Severina López López, Severina Villalobos Pineda, Susana Vasquez Sanchez, Vicente Marcial Cerqueda, Vicente Ruiz Orozco, Virgen Toledo López
Director: Maureen Gosling
Co-Director: Ellen Osborne
Languages: Spanish / Zapotec (English subtitles)
USA: 74 mins
USA Release Date: 3 February 2006 (Limited Release - New York)
BLOSSOMS OF FIRE is a dazzling, whirling dance of a film that celebrates the extraordinary lives of the Isthmus Zapotecs of southern Oaxaca, Mexico. The Isthmus Zapotecs, whose culture is rooted in a strong work ethic and fierce independent streak, have resulted not only in powerful women, but also in the region's progressive politics and an unusual tolerance of alternative gender roles. Made over a period of ten years, BLOSSOMS OF FIRE was shot and edited entirely on 16mm film. The film is Maureen Gosling's debut as a producer/ director after being an editor, and co-filmmaker with documentarian Les Blank for twenty years.
Artists like Miguel Covarrubias and Frida Kahlo have often celebrated and rendered tribute in their paintings to the legendary beauty of the woman of Juchitan. BLOSSOMS OF FIRE shows these women in all their brightly colored, opinionated glory as they run their own businesses, embroider their signature of fiery flowers on clothing and comment with angry humor on articles in the foreign press that flippantly and inaccurately depict them as a promiscuous matriarchy.
Veteran film editor and former Les Blank collaborator Maureen Gosling and co-director Ellen Osborne illuminate the infectious self-confidence of the Juchitecan people. A midwife laughs over a young husband's behavior during birth, a gay man cheerfully asserts that "mothers are in charge" in Juchitecan society and many proudly describe the challenges they face in their work and their families. Their lives may be hard, and maintaining Zapotec culture and language may be an ongoing battle, but it is plain that not one of these individuals - man, woman, young, old, gay or straight - would willingly change places with anyone in the first world.