The Absent Stone: Documentary film screening and Q&A with director Jesse Lerner

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Institute of the Americas
10111 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA, 92037
United States

The Institute of the Americas is honored to open a 10-day documentary film festival organized by Ambulante, a non-profit organization founded in 2005 by Mexican actors Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna and Pablo Cruz.  The binational film festival, which will take place March 12-21, 2013, will screen documentaries in Tijuana, Ensenada, Mexicali and San Diego.  The Institute of the Americas is one of only two locations in San Diego selected by Ambulante for the screening of its documentaries.

Immediately after the screening, we invite the audience to join us for a Q&A with filmmaker Jesse Lerner, whose short films and features have received numerous awards at international film festivals and have been featured at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The Absent Stone transports the audience to an unexplored episode of modern Mexican history: the expropriation of one of the most emblematic objects of national identity — an enormous monolith that represents a pre-Hispanic rain deity — and the conflicts it provoked.  The monolith was located for centuries in San Miguel Coatlinchan, a town in the state of Mexico, until authorities decided to move it to the National Museum of Anthropology in 1964. This documentary reconstructs the process of imposition, confrontation and resistance, as well as the eventual defeat of the town, which has fought to defend the stone until the Mexican Army intervened.  The account is built from the memories and everyday life of San Miguel Coatlinchan’s inhabitants as well as from interviews with well-known architects, archeologists, authorities in charge of its removal and media coverage of the conflict.

The film will be presented in Spanish and subtitled in English.

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