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Screening of Eugenio Polgovsky’s The Inheritors

The daily hardships of children in rural Mexico portrayed in an award-winning documentary will be shown at Trinity on Thursday 17 November 2016 at 5.15pm.

The Inheritors depicts the struggle for survival of children working on farms, as shepherds, making bricks, weaving cloth, collecting water, and many other activities over which they no control.

At the same time, the film is a tribute to their culture, which is embedded in their land, explained filmmaker Eugenio Polgovsky, who is a Fellow Commoner in the Creative Arts at Trinity. ‘They have inherited tools and techniques from their ancestors, but they have also inherited their day-by-day hardship. Generations pass and child workers remain captive in a cycle of inherited poverty,’ he said.

The low budget documentary, made with the support of the Hubert Bals Fund of the Rotterdam Film Festival, premiered at the 65th Venice Film Festival and was the official selection of the Berlinale 2009, when critic Lee Marshall wrote:

Filmed in the sort of up-close detail that only one-man productions shot over long timespans can manage, the un-narrated, un-captioned Los Herederos observes its subjects without comment or polemic. The result is a sometimes harrowing but also poetic and thoughtful film which galvanises its audience without resorting to shock tactics or facile finger-pointing.

Polgovsky described the reaction in Mexico to the documentary:

During its release in Mexico, with the support of UNICEF, it broke cinema box office records. Audiences considered it a poetic tool to raise people’s awareness of the plight of the country’s most underprivileged children.

Polgovsky donating the original negatives to Filmoteca UNAM, the film archive of the National University of Mexico.
Polgovsky donating the original negatives to Filmoteca UNAM, the film archive of the National University of Mexico.

Tellingly, the documentary has been pirated for DVD sale on the streets of Mexico City. Now it is freely available on YouTube where it has been seen by more than 120,000 people.

After the screening in Trinity’s Winstanley Lecture Theatre – which is open to all – there will be a Q&A with Polgovsky.

He trained as a photographer and graduated from Mexico City’s Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, and has received more than 30 awards worldwide, including for Tropic of Cancer and The Inheritors.

Following the screening of The Inheritors and the Q&A, there will be a screening of Demain, 7.45pm, organised by TCSU’s Environmental Officer, Laura Hildt. The film features people around the world who are pioneering new approaches to today’s ecological, economic and social problems.


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