Brimstone & Glory | Chicago Reader

Brimstone & Glory

This lively, colorful documentary surveys the National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico, a town supported by fireworks manufacturing and highly attuned to the power and danger of flame. As part of the festival, townsmen erect giant wooden towers festooned with fireworks, and no Hollywood action film could equal the excitement of the footage shot with GoPro camera helmets as they climb more than 100 feet up the towers, which are held in place only by ropes. Townspeople also construct papier-mache bulls the size of trucks, decorate them with fireworks, and parade them through the streets, dancing as close to the sparks and flame as they can stand. Fireworks production is a risky business—in one shot an old man fashions little spherical bombs, one of his hands a stump and the other missing its thumb—but still the craft is handed down over generations. One boy confesses that he doesn't like the work, but his father keeps at him; near the end of the movie the boy turns up again, holding his palm above a sparkler. Viktor Jakovleski directed. In Spanish with subtitles.

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