Mexican Murals – A Mural for a Movie

in murals •  last year 

Close to my neighborhood, that is within my dog-walking radius from home, I came across a fresh new mural. It is located in the Colonia Escandón, on the corner of Ave. Progreso and Cda. Antonio Maceo. The mural looks well made, showing beautiful images of the full moon behind the silhouette of mountains, and in the foreground some of the most important plants in Mexico: the nopal cactus, the agave, most famously used for making mezcal or tequila, and of course the Mexican food-plant number one: none other than the famous maize. On a closer look at the lettering on the side, I realized that the corn plant is in fact what this mural is really about: Maíz en Tiempos de Guerra or Maize in Times of War actually does make a catchy title. 

Then, just around the corner I saw this same title once again, stenciled on a wall together with a corn stalk and an ear of corn. What is this? The title of a book, or the slogan of a demonstration? As Mexico is preparing for national elections this year, I tended towards the latter guess. But I asked Google, and the result was something different: It’s a film! 

A Documentary by Alberto Cortés

Released last year, Maize in Times of War introduces the lives of four indigenous families, from the regions of Jalisco, Oaxaca, and Chiapas, paying special attention to their cornfields, and highlighting the importance subsistence farming plays in their lives. It illustrates the cultivation of milpas, small scale policultures of typically corn, beans, and squash, but also chili peppers, tomatoes, and other food crops. 

Image Source

Ultimately, as it can be inferred from the title, the movie also makes a point of showing the dangers corn, and the traditional planting techniques of the milpas face in our modern times. Though it is not political per se, by highlighting the issues of transgenic corn combined with economical forces, the film  leaves no doubt regarding the notion that planting corn (and other crops) in the traditional way is a deeply political act of resistance.

The documentary is currently running at various cinematheques, such as the Cineteca Nacional, la Casa del Cine, Film Club Café and Cine Morelos. Having acquired so much information about it, prompted by the beautifully painted mural, I actually have a strong urge to check it out while I’m still here in Mexico.

Sources: 1, 2 

If you liked this, check out my developing series on Mexican murals:  

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Very interesting. I love the way such messages are conveyed in your area and though all sorts of messages are conveyed through art those Mexican ones have great vibrant colors! At first glance the header has an almost extraterrestrial vibe. Love that!


I know, I've been thinking what it could be, how they get their colors to convey this weird feeling: the night seems so much brighter and more colorful than normal, and the daytime so much more mysterious. Kinda like in a waking dream... I love that.


Yeah their art really gets the imagination going. Gotta be something to it :-)
Maybe something to do with maize crop circles