Film Image
78 minutes
English and Spanish


Ancient Maya and Aztec objects have been shown in circuses, art galleries, World's Fairs and natural history museums. This experimental documentary suggests how diplomacy and Pan-Americanism recast archaeological objects as art. Part faked newsreel, part travelogue, part drug-induced hippie rant and part home movie, "Ruins" features Brigido Lara, a master forger whose latter-day "Pre-Colombian" objects were exhibited in New Yorks Metropolitan Museum of Art and suggests parallels between the documentary film and the fake.
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'Ruins' is a fascinating intellectual joke that isn't laughing when it asks, 'Who decides our history for us? Whose standards evaluate culture?' - Dennis Harvey, San Francisco Bay Guardian
Mixing a wonderfully confusing array of footage and animated sequences, Lerner upsets easy assumptions about history....a fantastic, spiraling vertigo of fact and fiction that uses the very notion of historical documents, and of documentary filmmaking itself. - Holly Willis, Los Angeles Weekly

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TWN acknowledges that in New York we are on the unceded territory of the Lenni Lenape, Canarsie, Shinecock, and Munsee peoples and challenges the harm that continues to be inflicted upon Indigenous and People of Color communities here and abroad, which is why we all need to be part of the struggle for rights, equality and justice.

TWN is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Color Congress, MOSAIC, New York Community Trust, Peace Development Fund, Ford Foundation, Golden Globe Foundation, Kolibri Foundation and individual donors.