Weaving The Past: Journey Of Discovery
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At a crossroads, American filmmaker Walter Dominguez embarks on a life-changing quest to uncover mysteries in the life of his saintly Mexican-born grandfather, Reverend Emilio Hernandez, and to fulfill his grandfather's dying wish to locate his long lost family of origin. Traveling through California, Texas and Mexico, Walter discovers Emilio's involvement with courageous Mexican and American revolutionaries fighting for social justice in tragically oppressed Mexico. His search finally leads him to his grandfather's family in Mexico, and redemption for himself.
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These are the questions writer/director Walter Dominguez set out to answer for himself in this haunting documentary about his Grandfather, the Reverend Emilio Hernandez in "Weaving the Past-Journey of Discovery". During a time when Mr. Dominguez was questioning the meaning in his own life after his beloved Grandfather's passing, a beautiful, antique image of a man found among Emilio's belongings inspired Mr. Dominguez to inquire further into his Grandfather's background. His initial inquiry leads to a thirteen year journey of personal and historical discovery- from the personal story of Emilio as a young boy who is taken in by a wealthy "Hacendado" family in Mexico, to his friendship and migration to the United States with the "Poet" of the 1910 Mexican Revolution, Praxedis Guerrero, Mr. Dominguez weaves the personal story of his Grandfather with the important historical events that shaped the relationship of two countries- Mexico and the United States- at the turn of the 20th Century.
Using historical photos, beautifully acted vignettes, and superb historical research, Mr. Dominguez draws the viewer into his personal historical drama. And in learning about the characters and events of the Reverend Emilio Hernandez' life, we are also impressed by how the story of one man in historical context continues to inform and challenge us on the issues facing us today-poverty, immigration, and race relations.
I loved this film, not only because it is a beautiful personal story, but because it has inspired me to think and think again about the current challenges we face today in America today. Who do we want to be as a nation? What legacy will we leave for our children? And on a personal level, I love this film because it has inspired me to seek answers to my own questions in the historical context of the people who have inspired and shaped my own life.
Writer and director Walter Dominguez takes us with him through more than a decade as he endeavors to uncover his deceased grandfather’s hidden past. Through candid interviews, archival research, and visits to Chihuahua, Mexico, he slowly finds clues to his beloved Tata’s early years. I found myself joining Dominguez in this gentle and candid story of his search, and like him, was surprised when the threads eventually tied his grandfather very closely to major leaders in the Mexican revolution. Dominguez observes that the US government colluded with the seven-term Profirio regime because US businesses were benefiting from the exploitation of Mexican forced labor and the cultural history of centuries of brutality inflicted on peasants and indigenous Mexican people. Tata survived the revolution, immigrated to the USA, and continued to champion the cause of human rights, dignity, freedom, and justice in his work as a pastor and humanitarian.
Throughout this narrative journey, the writer shares intimate moments with his step-grandmother as well as discovered relatives, and, along with the narrator, we experience the healing power of shared memories and a reclaimed past. We come to love his grandfather, Tata, as a person of complexity, depth, and quiet heroism who dedicated his life to serve others, especially immigrants who helped build our nation throughout the twentieth century.
With a delicate hand and fine eye to evoking a sense of time, memory and story, the writer and director, along with his team of archivists, actors, videographers, editors have built a fresh and true story without clichés or pretentions that is respectfully told and genuine of heart. I loved this journey of the heart.
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Learning about your family history is a reason why I like History and I am studying it today.Read more