Feature Documentary Competition | 67 min | 2017

Brimstone and Glory

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About the Film

A loud, captivating, awe-inspiring film. Memorable imagery stirs mixed feelings of joy and fear within viewers, like those experienced by the residents of the Mexican city of Tultepec when they are caught amidst the fireworks they hand-craft every year to celebrate a religious occasion that has by now become an unshakeable tradition. Fire and light fill the skies of this mad city, proud of its people’s glory. The pleasure induced by proximity to danger is in their blood, an inherent part of their identity, culturally and psychologically.
For ten whole days, they revel in the hysteria of an earthly inferno; an attempt to cleanse their souls of sin. It is a ritual that has been captured on TV hundreds of times, but from the outside. Brimstone & Glory, meanwhile, films it from the inside, exposing cinematographer Tobias von den Borne to grave danger, and displaying it against a beautiful  soundtrack that elucidates its sheer wonder. The sharp, clear display of the fireworks makes it a visually poetic masterpiece, a rare quality in documentary work.
The film’s visual flair is closely tied to its dramatic structure, highlighted in two characters among the city’s inhabitants: The first is a boy who accompanies his father to the celebrations, and the second is the “torito” sculptor, whose toritos sprout fireworks from their insides, burning and inspiring those who dare to come close.
This impressive documentary records, with lingering and exciting precision, haunting scenes of humans losing themselves within the flames, in search of salvation and, perhaps, respite.

Film Info

Section Feature Documentary Competition
Year 2017
Length 67 min
Language Spanish, with Arabic subtitles
Country U.S.A.

Film Credits

Director Viktor Jakovleski
Cinematography Tobias von dem Borne
Music Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin
Editing Affonso Gonçalves
Producer Dan Janvey, Elizabeth Lodge Stepp, Kellen Quinn
Production Company Department of Motion Pictures
Sound Design Damian Volpe

Film Contacts

270 Halsey Street # 2
11216 New York, USA
Kellen Quinn

Directed by: Viktor Jakovleski

Born in 1983 in West Berlin to a Macedonian father and a Serbian mother, Viktor Jakovleski studied at the German Film and Television Academy before moving to Hollywood, Los Angeles, where he worked as assistant producer on a number of films and directed several music videos. In 2008, he co-produced Benh Zeitlin’s short Glory at Sea, in addition to co-producing German drama LenaLove in 2016. Brimstone and Glory is his debut directorial feature.