Blossoms of Fire (2006)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The town of Juchitan in Oaxaca, Mexico, was part of a matriarchal society centuries ago, but unlike most of the cities that surround it, Juchitan hasn't lost touch with this side of its past -- it's a city where women enjoy a degree of political, economic, and social equality unknown in most of the world. The city's dominant businesses are run by women, women take a leading role in city government and activist actions, and in most of the city's households, it's the women who handle the family's financial affairs. The documentary Blossoms of Fire takes a look at Juchitan's history and present-day notoriety, as well as the problems that have come with the city's increasingly high media profile. Blossoms of Fire was shown at the 2000 San Francisco Film Festival.
Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
New Yorker Films


Critic Reviews for Blossoms of Fire

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4)

Maureen Gosling's documentary aims to demythologize the Zapotec people of Juchitán, a town on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southeastern Mexico.

February 2, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

She doesn't always find a way into the inner lives of these people, but even the outer lives are something to see.

Full Review… | February 2, 2006
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

Proceeding respectfully, with a measure of skepticism, Maureen Gosling and Ellen Osborne's doc doesn't exactly crumple but loses momentum through vagueness.

Full Review… | January 31, 2006
Village Voice
Top Critic

Gosling's schoolmarmish narration betrays the filmmakers' awestruck naivete toward the culture, which they seem to consider some sort of matriarchal utopia.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

While Blossoms of Fire avoids the fluff and sensationalism of an Elle article, it is by no means the last word on Zapotec culture.

Full Review… | February 28, 2007
Film Journal International

While the subject is potentially fascinating, [director] Gosling's unfocused, sluggish film is a case study in missed opportunities.

February 3, 2006

Audience Reviews for Blossoms of Fire

great doc which shed some light on such diverse things (for me) as why frida painted herself in the native lace costumes and their deeper meanings in some of her art, this doc manages to both teach & delight.

Gregory Wood
Gregory Wood

Blossoms of Fire is a dazzling film that celebrates the extraordinary lives of the Isthmus Zapotecs of southern Oaxaca, Mexico, a people with strong work ethic, fierce independence, and deep sense of pride in their culture. Visually appealing to watch as the women wear brightly colored embroidered finery to work every day. Their clothing is legendary in Juchitán, and depicted in paintings by artists like Miguel Covarrubias and Frida Kahlo. The film is also laced throughout with traditional music which works as a nice canvas to paint the movie on. The women here are powerful and intelligent. They handle the money, not the men. Not to say that the men do not work hard also, because the do, if not harder than the women. Learning about their rich culture excited me and made me want to visit. But then the film began to document the challenges many face in their work and their families and the globalization which is radically changing the way many live in this area. Some battles are maintaining their Zapotec culture and language. Blossoms of Fire was made over a period of ten years and it sure shows. The film is well put together and very interesting. The people are deeply involved in the politics and there was a whole section of the film dedicated to the discovery of their past, and why these people may be so active in government. Another part of the film was dedicated to gender roles and gender identification which to me seemed to go on longer than needed and wasn't really as interesting as the rest of the film. The most interesting theme was the dispute if there was a matriarchal hierarchy or not.

Dannielle Albert
Dannielle Albert

Super Reviewer


[i][img][/img][/i] [i]BLOSSOMS OF FIRE[/i] is visually appealing and contains some very interesting information on the relationships between women and men, women and business, and women and politics in Oaxaca, Mexico. The wonderful colors that infuse almost every scene are one of this documentary’s biggest draws. That the women of the area make most of their apparel by hand is well known, and many of the dress items are sought after by locals and foreigners alike. The women are what this documentary is all about. The focus is on the matriarchal society that once existed (and maybe still does) in this area. Women run many of the businesses, are highly independent, and are deeply involved in the politics of the region. Film makers Maureen Gosling and Ellen Osborne dive into the culture of Oaxaca and take the viewer with them as some of the people of Oaxaca comment on this area’s cultural significance. Some say that there is no matriarchal hierarchy, while others say there is. Perhaps the matriarchal nature of the area is so ingrained in the people of Oaxaca that they don’t even notice it. Or perhaps it’s just a bunch of media hype to make the area more interesting. Who knows. The cleanliness of the area is what will impress many watchers, too. Most rural areas of Mexico tend to look unkempt, with hogs and dogs running amuck through tattered streets, and the residence wearing holey clothes. Not so here. The streets are swept clean, the people impeccably dressed, and not a hog or dog to be seen. The area is also a hotbed of anti-Mexican governmentalism. Fiercely independent by nature, the women (and men) protect their identity with rabid ferocity. But they also accept change and integrate it into their society ...but in a way that befits their Oaxacan culture rather than one that eats away at it. The film does stray some when it starts discussing the acceptance of homosexuality and lesbianism, though. Although interesting, it isn’t what drove this area of Mexico to its current high level of female sophistication. Even so, this is interesting information and the bright adornments on all the beautiful women is pure eye-candy. [size=1][color=sienna][b][i]No Movie Trailer Available...[/i][/b][/color][/size] [size=1][color=darkorange][b][i][url=""][color=darkorange]Click here[/color][color=darkorange] for THE FILM REVIEW STEW homepage![/color][/url][/i][/b][/color][/size]

Byron Merritt
Byron Merritt

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