Combustible Celluloid
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With: n/a
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Viktor Jakovleski
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Spanish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 67
Date: 10/27/2017

Brimstone & Glory (2017)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Pride and Boom

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Viktor Jakovleski's documentary Brimstone & Glory tells the story of Tultepec, a small town in Mexico notable for its manufacturing of fireworks as well as a festival in which those fireworks are lit off, in spectacular ways. It's a beautiful film, forgoing talking heads or commentary and simply finding the poetry of the moment; in many ways, it reminded me of the great fishing documentary Leviathan (2012). Jakovleski's camera quietly and smoothly tracks through the streets, capturing the majestic beauty of several enormous fireworks towers as they spin and flame in the darkness. One breathstopping shot shows a man climbing to the top of a dizzying tower to make a repair. Jakovleski occasionally follows some locals; mothers fret over how dangerous the craft is, and fathers try to teach their sons about how to mix chemicals. He also captures some rather gruesome injuries, people who were unfortunately caught in the crossfire of a flying rocket. But mostly, this 67-minute film captures the thrill, the joy, the wonder of looking up into the night sky and seeing something uniting, something bigger than all of us.

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