As Sally Potter travels around the world with 'YES'
she is keeping a diary exclusively for this web site
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The Critic

The Rivera Murals

The Casa Azul


Festival Screening

The Trotsky Museum


Profound Mexico


Rain on canvas

The Jury

The Anthropological Museum


Political Correctness

Two Houses

False Virtue

Life is a miracle

Weird Roots

The Meeting

Turtles Can Fly

The Oscars

Luis Barragans house

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The Anthropological Museum

A visit to the museum everyone says I must see.  I squeeze some time out of the schedule to drag myself through the scorching heat.  A short stone staircase up to the entrance leaves me gasping for breath, for I have not yet adjusted to the altitude (Mexico City is at 2200 meters).  The museum is extraordinary.  The beauty of the early artifacts – the proportions, design and decoration not bettered since, it seems; the wealth, breadth, and detail of the cultural history of Mexico on display is staggering. I am left with a terrible feeling of loss and exhaustion, of witnessing the evidence of a partial obliteration and annihilation.  But here nevertheless, are remains and traces; triumphant, and (relatively) immortal.

Glazed and dazed by beauty and information we stagger out of the museum to return to the cool dark of the cinema once more; but on the way down the stone steps we see that an ancient ritual is about to be performed for tourists, school parties and those passing by.  It is only a handful of us that sit down to watch, but five men climb (without safety harnesses) to a small structure at the top of an impossibly tall mast, which sways slightly in the hot, still air.  Then, to the piercing mournful sound of a pipe played by one of the men who sits perched on the very top of the rotating structure, the four others slowly descend, head first, suspended on ropes attached to their feet, swinging out and around, slowly, hypnotically, vertiginously, until they reach the ground.

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Mayan sculpture

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Tommy Cooper look-a-like

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Aerial ritual

Text © Sally Potter. All pictures © Adventure Pictures unless otherwise indicated