Ruins
1999
BW
78 minutes
US
English and Spanish
Ruins
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.
Reviews
'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easy assumptions about history....a fantastic, spiraling vertigo of fact and fiction that uses the very notion of historical documents, and of documentary filmmaking itself.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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