“In the case of the girls and boys and mothers and fathers who are jornaleros when I portray their features at their own height, doing so as a form of reverence, I believe they feel dignified and think that what they are doing—their labor, their existence—has value, that it deserves to be observed. The one who does his work and the one who observes meld together; there is no need to coordinate or talk anything over. Together, we are the machinery that constructs memory.”
Dir: Eugenio Polgovsky. Mexico, 2008. 90 min
In The Inheritors, Polgovsky portrays the daily lives of children in rural Mexico who, with their families, survive only by their unrelenting labor. As they harvest food, weave textiles, shepherd animals, collect wood, make bricks, and look after their siblings, children appear not as subjects of first-world pity but as curious, jolly, diligent, caring beings. Like in Buñuel’s Los olvidados, these children are captive in a cycle of inherited poverty. They are also inheritors of the knowledge and work techniques of their forebears.