The Absent Stone

In 1964, the largest carved stone of the Americas was moved from the town of San Miguel Cuatlinchan in the municipality of Texcoco to the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City in an impressive feat of engineering. The extraction of the monolith, which represents the pre-Hispanic water deity, set off a rebellion in the town and led to the intervention of the army.

Today, the enormous stone, now upright, is an urban monument; it has been transformed into one of the principal icons of Mexican national identity. The inhabitants of Coatlinchan insist that the removal of the stone has caused droughts. Representations and replicas of the absent stone appear everywhere in Coatlinchan, where it resonates in the memories of the inhabitants. Using animations, archival materials and contemporary encounters with the protagonists of the transport of the stone, this documentary explores the relevance of the ruins of the past in the present day.

Visit The Absent Stone’s official website.

Directors: Sandra Rozental and Jesse Lerner
Producers: Sandra Rozental and Jesse Lerner
Research: Sandra Rozental
Camera and editing: Jesse Lerner
Sound: Michael Kowalski, Sara Harris
Music: Familia Chavarría
Production: FOPROCINE, INAH, The American Egypt
Locations: San Miguel Coatlinchán, Estado de México; Distrito Federal (México); Houston (United States)
With: Juan Manuel Garay Cadena, Dulce María Galicia González, Marcelo Ortíz Sánchez, Maria de la Luz Trujano García, Salvador Suárez Hernández, Jeffrey R. Parsons, Guadalupe Villarreal Galicia, Pedro García Nava, Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, Enrique del Valle Prieto, Antonio López Rivera, Amado Sánchez Garay, José Chavarría Mancilla, Juan Pichardo, Israel Martínez Trujano, Juan Francisco López, Miguel León Portilla, y Jaime Torres Bodet.
Running time: 82 min

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