Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Journey of Discovery

Mystery, compelling connections, dedication that can not be denied.  Those are phrases that come to mind when I think back on the docudrama - "Weaving the Past".   It premiered last Friday and it's showing at the Laemmle Playhouse 7 for two more days.

I've known Walter Dominguez, the director, producer, and writer,  for 5 years or so.  I met him on a historical adventure at one of the oldest adobes in San Gabriel.  We both rejoiced, in a happy historian sort of way, when we learned that we shared a deep interest in Pasadena, San Gabriel and Santa Paula.  I was happy to learn about his grandfather who had been a Methodist minister in Pasadena.  I knew about the church and was thrilled to learn about the reverend who been a part of the history of Chihuahuita.

It was great fun to meet Walter's mother and hear her stories of Pasadena.  Our conversation reinforced my sense that Pasadena has long been a complex place.  I remain focused on trying to better understand the complexity of our community.

For the past 13 years Walter has been focused on the stories of his family, especially those focused on his grandfather Emilio Hernandez (Tata).  There was an apparent dichotomy between who his Tata was as a young man and who he became as a man mature in age and in faith.

Tata - Emilio Hernandez

Walther knew Tata as a man of kindness and strong religious conviction.  How then to reconcile this beloved church elder with the man who in his youth had been an active part of the Mexican Revolution.  His question was less how could this be?  It was much more, how did this come to be?  That sort of question is often is the most difficult to answer.

It is the sort of question that many of us don't get to ask.  The questions may touch upon uncomfortable subjects.  The questions may seem to have obvious answers.  The questions that occur to us only after those who could answer have passed on.

This film is about those questions.  It is about trying to catch the source, before the source is gone. 

It is about place, about choice, about family, and about history as recalled in a oral tradition as much as the academic swim through data and detailed records.   It is by asking these sorts of questions that our ancestors become more real, more flesh and blood.  

And for that we can feel closer to them.

As I mentioned the film will be at the Laemmle through this coming Thursday.  I didn't mention that Walter has had the support of his family, especially that of his loving wife Shelley Morrison, who served as Executive Producer.

All images courtesy Chasing Light Productions

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