Brimstone & Glory
Burning Man has nothing on Tultepec’s charging toritos and exploding castillos. Mexico’s weeklong National Pyrotechnic Festival may sound like a relatively tame event, but it is in fact sheer unbridled madness. Local craftspeople build and climb rickety multistory, carnivalesque “castles” that light up, spin, explode, and threaten to fall at any moment. Meanwhile, another day’s “running of the bulls” has crowds dodging fireworks that shoot from the papier-maché bulls’ mouths and backsides, and for some, the day ends with the salving of third-degree burns in nearby medical facilities. Scars that locals take away are earned with pleasure, it is said, though this dynamic documentary keeps explanation to a minimum while maximizing the experience through GoPro camera POVs and gorgeous abstractions of colorful explosions. Director Viktor Jakovleski captures and Beasts of the Southern Wild director Benh Zeitlin brilliantly scores a playful dance with death for those of us who are happy to witness it from a safe distance. —Susan Gerhard
Viktor Jakovleski, born in West Berlin in 1983, attended the German Film and Television Academy, spent time as a Hollywood personal assistant and driver, and worked with Benh Zeitlin as a co-producer and assistant director on the short film Glory at Sea (2008). He is a producer of LenaLove, which opened in 2016. His documentary feature Brimstone and Glory was produced with the Court 13 collective.
Director Viktor Jakovleski
Producer Dan Janvey, Benh Zeitlin, Kellen Quinn, Affonso Gonçalves, Elizabeth Lodge
Editor Affonso Gonçalves
Cinematographer Tobias von dem Borne
Music Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin