Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  60 minutes
Date:  2004
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Tina In Mexico

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The story of renowned photographer Tina Modotti, acclaimed for her innovative and impassioned depiction of social issues.

Tina In Mexico

A new independent feature documentary by acclaimed Canadian director Brenda Longfellow, TINA IN MEXICO, follows the tumultuous and epic story of Tina Modotti, revolutionary, bohemian spirit and renowned photographer, acclaimed for her innovative and impassioned depiction of social issues.

Longfellow's film weaves archival footage, the luminous photographs of Tina Modotti and Edward Weston, the murals of Diego Rivera, and lyrical re-enactments, to conjure up the political, artistic and intimate spaces of their lives in Mexico during the 1920s. Drawing on Edward Weston's daybooks, the collected letters of Tina Modotti and imaginative recreations, TINA IN MEXICO is told through the voices of Tina, Edward, and their contemporaries.

'For pure aesthetic allure and the kind of eroticism that's about life energy, nothing comes close to Brenda Longfellow's graceful and elegiac TINA IN MEXICO - impeccable work, a reminder of how the resonances of artfulness and mortality pervade black-and-white photography and film.' Liam Lacey, Toronto Globe and Mail

'Longfellow seamlessly weaves together archival footage, phenomenal photographs and dramatic reenactments (most in black and white, a few in shockingly lush color) which recreate famous photos, in motion. Others dwell on her life and surroundings, the camera gliding lazily over gorgeous still lifes: Modotti smoking pensively, the walls of a convent, dining tables groaning with fruit, the camera constantly moving, framing objects and figures with a refreshing obliqueness...one is left with a succession of images that sear the soul.' Jason McBride, Toronto Life

'Longfellow's access to Modotti's diary and Weston's original photos gives her a close-up view of what these two Bohemian souls were experiencing during the devastating revolution that's hardly ever spoken of outside Mexico.' Now Toronto

'A beautifully intimate portrait that reveals not only the images, but the thoughts and words of these two great artists.' Gregorio Luke, Director of the Museum of Latin American Art

'Tina in Mexico splices together new and old documents, archival and recreated footage, personal and public experiences and events, to breathe even more life into Modotti's story... Longfellow achieves a good balance in presenting Edward Weston and Modotti's artistic and personal life together. Much too often, in order to preserve Weston's value in art history, some go to great lengths to construct an uneven relationship between him and Modotti, with the latter's role relegated to that of assistant and lover. Never denying Tina's apprenticeship with Weston, and his obvious influence on her work, Longfellow's documentary marks Tina her own woman... Much as Modotti saw 'maps of a history of exploitation' in the faces of the Mexican people she photographed so, in this documentary, we can discern, on the face of Longfellow's Modotti, the map for a history of exemplary cultural activism.' Prof. Pasquale Verdicchio, Dept. of Literature, University of California, San Diego Organizer of the 1996 International Conference on Tina Modotti, UCSD, in conjuction with the exhibition Dear Vocio

'More than being merely beautiful, this film is intensely interesting. It gives us an intimate view of what life was like in Mexico during the Mexican revolution from the point of view of a passionate political activist and artist. [Tina in Mexico] is highly recommended for college students and other adult audiences.' Susan Boatright, Educational Media Reviews Online

'This unusual documentary is true to the creative soul of its subject... Anything but a standard, linear biography, Tina in Mexico does draw from a timeline of Modotti's life, but is more interested in understanding her as an artist, a woman, and an activist, and in looking at how these facets often clashed and overlapped... Longfellow does a fine job of measuring Modotti's influence on Mexican art and politics, as well as the reasons for her eventual expulsion from the country and departure from photography. Recommended.' Video Librarian

'By blending Modotti's words and images with those of her colleagues and contemporaries, Longfellow captures the spirit of both the woman and the time and place in which she worked. [Tina in Mexico] deserves a place in any library. Highly recommended.' Library Journal


Golden Rose Winner, Rose D'Or, Switzerland
Best Arts/Entertainment, Best Cinematography and Best Script, Golden Sheaf Awards
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival
Victoria Independent Film and Video Festival, Canada
Honorable Mention, Columbus International Film and Video Festival
Best Arts/Culture Documentary, New Latin American Cinema Festival, Cuba
Western Psychological Association Film Festival


Main credits

Longfellow, Brenda (screenwriter)
Longfellow, Brenda (film director)
Longfellow, Brenda (film producer)
Longfellow, Brenda (editor of moving image work)
McIntosh, David (film producer)
Castañares-López, Normahilda (film producer)

Other credits

Director of photography, Chris Romeike; editors, Glen Richards and Brenda Longfellow; music, Bob Derksch.

Distributor credits

Brenda Longfellow and David McIntosh

Brenda Longfellow

Brenda Longfellow and David McIntosh
Brenda Longfellow
Photographed by Chris Romeike
Edited by Brenda Longfellow and Glen Richards
Tina Modotti (on screen): Tania Cabagne Ibarra
Tina Modotti (voice): Allegra Fulton

Docuseek2 subjects

Latin American History
Latin American Studies
The Politics of Art
Multicultural Studies
Sociology of Art
20th Century
Women's Studies
Philosophy, Critical Thinking and Ethics

Distributor subjects

Film Studies
Latin American Studies
Latino and Chicano Studies
Multicultural Studies
Political Science


photography, Tina Modotti, Edward Weston, Diego Rivera, Mexico; "Tina In Mexico"; Bullfrog Films

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