TFF: ‘Patrimonio’ Festival Review
Patrimonio is a powerful story of community, trust, and heritage. Living in the political culture that we do today, it is great to see a film that embraces the traditions of these people in a way that is rarely seen.
Found in the Baja Peninsula of Southern California located between La Pas, the capital of the state of Baja California Sur and Cabo San Luca is a small Mexican town of Todos Santos, population 6500. The primary industry is town is fishing. But in 2015, this tiny little village became embroiled in a legal battle for the life of their community. This conflict is detailed in the documentary Patrimonio, which was shown this past weekend at the 16th annual Tallgrass Film Festival. The film describes the David versus Goliath battle between the fisherman who populate this town, and big corporate real estate developers willing to destroy these people’s livelihood.
Patrimonio, which in Spanish means ‘heritage,’ gives an excellent introduction to the region of Todos Santos and its people. But all that is shattered when a real estate investment firm based in Mexico City known as MIRA, and a real estate company from Denver, Colorado known as the Black Creek Group purchases an 1100 acre crescent of land Northeast of Todos Santos to the shoreline, undermining the townsfolk’s ability to fish.
Filmmakers Lisa F. Jackson and Sarah Teale present the people of this town as essentially honest and simple people who only wish to have, what has been in their families for generations, returned back to them. It also presents the people who represent MIRA as sinister and underhanded to get what they want, no matter who they have to pay off or run over. Interestingly, you’re never allowed to form an opinion of those in the Black Creek Group, because they never show up to any meeting that they are scheduled for.
The film’s true hero is the lawyer John Moreno. He is the film’s ‘white knight’. He is always there to support those who feel the battle is not worth it anymore, as well as serving as a blockade to prevent workers from doing the construction. He is the glimmer of hope that these people need so that their livelihood is not destroyed. Even when his life and freedom are threatened, he stays the course.
Patrimonio is a well-made documentary that presents a community willing to fight for what is right against odds that are almost unsurmountable. The audience is allowed to visit a place of natural beauty and learn of a culture that most will never see firsthand. Directors Jackson and Teale are competent storytellers. Their story is very concise without drifting into any subplots that would distract from the primary story.
Worth A Watch
Film Festival Review
This review of Patrimonio is part of our Tallgrass Film Festival 2018 coverage. For more coverage, visit the Tour Page.