A documentary film by Sandra Carla Rozental and Jesse Lerner
35mm, 80 minutes
Showings: Scheduled for 14 cities in Mexico and later in the US.
For photos, trailer, animation and current news (Spanish): The film: La piedra ausente – The Absent Stone
The documentary film The Absent Stone has just been released. It tells the story of the removal of the enormous monolithic stone sculpture of the Aztec rain god Tlaloc in the 1960s from the village of Coatlinchan to adorn the entrance to Mexico’s just completed National Museum of Anthropology and History. The taking of the stone was not without serious village resistance, but with help from the Mexican Army, and large moving rigs, in the end it was hauled to the entrance of the museum where it stands today. The large theater crowd that viewed the film’s first screening a few weeks ago at the Cineteca in Mexico City gave it rave reviews as did the people of Coatlinchan at an outdoor showing in the village. And while it’s been more than 40 years since the stone was taken, the pain of the loss remains. One village woman commented to the filmmakers: “it’s great that you made the film, now can you help us get our stone back.”
Filmmakers Jesse Lerner and Sandra Rozental add–
In 1964, the largest carved stone of the Americas was moved from the town of San Miguel Coatlinchan in the municipality of Texcoco to the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City in an impressive feat of engineering. The extraction of the monolith, which represents the pre-Hispanic water deity Tlaloc, set off a rebellion in the town and led to the intervention of the army. Today, the enormous stone, now upright, is an urban monument; it has been transformed into one of the principal icons of Mexican national identity. The inhabitants of Coatlinchan insist that the removal of the stone has caused droughts. Representations and replicas of the absent stone appear in the village and the memories of the inhabitants. Using animations, archival materials and contemporary encounters with the protagonists of the transport of the stone, this documentary film explores the relevance of the ruins of the past in the present day.”