I want to tell you that Michael Peed has made a remarkable, endearing, engaging, and beautiful film about Dolores Porras and her pottery. Michael is the perfect person to have made this documentary because he is a potter himself. That is why the narrative is laced with terrific explanations of the pot-making process, how the clay is made, wedged, formed, dried to leather hard, decorated, then fired. What I really loved about this 31-minute movie is that interspersed between the interviews with Dolores that Michael (Miguel) did over the years, are magical scenes of Oaxaca street life, music, festivals, markets, and the jumble-bump of an unsteady cinema verite that represents the hubbub and vagaries of Oaxaca life.
What I really love is how Michael explains clay. You know he is knowledgeable, that he was a university professor, and you can trust his narrative. Yet, he is not pedantic in his descriptions. His narrative is warm and engaging and he captures Dolores perfectly. You really get a sense of her origins, life in a small Zapotec village, the history of the village as it related to the magnificent political center of Monte Alban (now a major mesoamerican archeological site), and the defined roles of women in the art of pottery making.
The other really charming and delightful part of the movie is the involvement of Dolores’ entire family in the pottery making process. You see her home, her children, her animals, and the larger environment of which she was a part.
I met Dolores just three years before she died in November 2010. This film gave me the perspective I was lacking to see Dolores as a younger woman, vibrant, creative, and innovative. I am grateful to Michael for making this film and I hope you will take the opportunity to purchase the DVD from him and see it yourself.
If you love Oaxaca and indigenous arts and crafts, you will not be disappointed. If you want to know more about traditional pottery, this is a perfect film for you.
In homage to Dolores Porras, and in tribute to my dad, also a fine potter.
To order, contact Michael Peed: firstname.lastname@example.org