Posted by paulrivas on:
Los Herederos (The Inheritors)
2008, 90 min., Eugenio Polgovsky
If you've ever felt the urge to empathize with Mexican child laborers from the comfort of a cushioned recliner, this is the documentary for you. If, however, it's the language of the uneducated Mexican agricultural worker born into a culture of poverty that you're after, this ain't it - Los Herederos has almost no words!
No voice-overs, no introduction, no words on the screen other than subtitles, nothing. It's a documentary with no narration! Not only that, the subjects of the film rarely speak. It's a 90-minute movie with no talking!
Aside from a boy who nicks himself with a machete while whittling and asks his little brother to bring him some yellowed Scotch tape to mend it, there is only one piece of memorable dialogue in the film. It comes when several small children are eating lunch in the shade under the truck that will haul the tomatoes they've picked. Sitting in the dirt, the kids are gobbling tomatoes when one little girl predicts, "Tomorrow we'll shit pure tomato mash."
In the opinion of Rivas Cultural Services, when your baby sister is sleeping on a blanket in the dirt of a jalapeño field and you're making pennies per kilo of peppers picked, there just isn't all that much around you that would move you to speak. I enjoyed this film in an "I'm glad I don't have to go all the way to Santa Maria or Mexico to witness this kind of stuff" sort of way, but I don't agree with Latino Cinemedia Programming Assistant Ilana Dann Luna's opinion that Los Herederos "might be [her] pick for the most beautiful film in the festival." On second thought, I do agree with her. It might be. It isn't, but it might be.
The documentary does go a long way toward demonstrating that most people use way more words than are necessary, and shows true child labor scenes from the Mexican states of Guerrero, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Sinaloa, Puebla and Veracruz, but I'm not convinced it was worth leaving work in the middle of the day to see. Poop jokes alone just aren't enough for me anymore.