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The Inheritors
A Film by Eugenio Polgovsky
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The most highly praised and awarded Mexican documentary in many years, THE INHERITORS by Eugenio Polgovsky immerses us in the daily lives of children who, with their families, survive only by their unrelenting labor.

The film takes us into the agricultural fields, where children barely bigger than the buckets they carry, work long hours, in often hazardous conditions, picking tomatoes, peppers, or beans, for which they are paid by weight. Infants in baskets are left alone in the hot sun, or are breast-fed by mothers while they pick crops.

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THE INHERITORS also observes other labor routines, including the production of earthen bricks, cutting cane, gathering firewood, ox-plowing fields and planting by hand, and even more artistic endeavors such as carving wooden figures and weaving baskets to sell.

The indelible impression conveyed by THE INHERITORS, in which everyone-from the frailest elders to the smallest of toddlers-must work reveals how the cycle of poverty is passed on, from one generation to another.

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★★★½ "Offers a remarkable example of cinema vérité, trusting in the power of its images...Highly recommended." —Video Librarian

"Offering a panoply of their ongoing routines and responsibilities, the film shows children, men, and women laboring at various chores and wage earning jobs such as plowing, harvesting, brickmaking, weaving, cooking, herding and feeding animals, gathering firewood, cutting cane, chopping wood, and carrying water. However, the focus is on the children and the perpetual cycle of labor and poverty that they have inherited. The film's director/producer, Eugenio Polgovsky compels the viewer to not only look at their present condition but to also envision their future. He does this by interspersing occasional scenes and close ups of the elderly who have lived this same life in these same places for so long. ...This film is well done and offers a realistic portal into the lives of poor, hardworking families in the Mexican countryside.” —Educational Media Reviews Online

"Poetic yet quietly challenging... beautifully shot images." —Janet Smith, The Georgia Straight

"A tough, rewarding glimpse into northern Mexico's hard-scrabble realities... This is awareness-raising documentary cinema at its most urgent and necessary." —The Hollywood Reporter

"Remarkable... a sometimes harrowing but also poetic and thoughtful film." —Screen

"The harsh, relentlessly arduous conditions experienced by children toiling in the Mexican countryside are observed with striking vision and cinematic poetry." —Variety

"An impressive depiction of the bleak lives of Mexico's rural population... reminiscent of the early socio-critical works of directors such as Jean Rouch and Fernando Birri." —Berlin International Film Festival

2010 Award of Merit in Film, Latin American Studies Association
Grand Prize, 2008 Festival of New Latin American Cinema
Best Documentary, 2009 Mexican Academy of Film Arts and Sciences
Feisal Prize, 2009 Guadalajara Film Festival
Best Documentary, 2009 Festival de la Memoria
Best Documentary, Santiago International Documentary Festival

90 minutes / color
Release: 2009
Copyright: 2008
Sale: $398

Subject areas:
Adolescence, Agriculture, Anthropology, Economic Sociology, Human Rights, Labor Studies, Latin America, Latin American Studies, Mexico, Sociology, US & Canadian Broadcast Rights

Related Links:
The Films of Eugenio Polgovsky
View a PDF of the Film's Press Kit

Related Titles:
Café: This intimate documentary follows an indigenous Mexican family through one critical year of life

Silvestre Pantaleón: The story of an elderly man from the Nahuatl-speaking village of San Agustin Oapan, Mexico.

Little Moth: When an impoverished country couple adopts a crippled young girl and puts her to work begging on city streets, a battle soon ensues over her fate.

Presumed Guilty: A searing examination of the Mexican criminal justice system through the case of one man, wrongly accused of murder.

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Last Updated January 13, 2017
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