The final film by the late Mexican director Eugenio Polgovsky—one of the finest documentary filmmakers of his generation—is a poignant portrait of a family’s fight for survival and the regeneration of their local river. Once known as the Mexican Niagara, the waterfall of El Salto de Juanacatlán was a source of immense joy and continuous sustenance for the villages surrounding it. This natural paradise disappeared when an industrial complex was established across the Santiago River close to Guadalajara. Nowadays its poisonous waters destroy everything in their path, including the memories of the fishermen and farmers who watched their whole world disappear. From among the toxic ruins of the river’s banks, ancient specters emerge as an echo of a lost Eden. The destiny of a river goes hand in hand with that of a village, and humanity itself.
New York: August 14 at Anthology Film Archives.