The Mexican Suitcase documentary film
by Trisha Ziff
extract from interview with Trisha Ziff by Le Lettre de la photographie.com

Trisha, can you tell us about what the movie deals with and how?
It is a 90-minute feature film. Although it is called The Mexican Suitcase, it covers three stories. The first, how Capa, Taro and Chim’s negatives traveled from Spain to France then to Mexico where they were discovered 70 years later, and to New York, where they were displayed. The movie evidently shows the pictures and negatives in the suitcases. The second is about Republican dissidents living in exile in Mexico after the end of the Spanish Civil War. This section is very important because Mexico was the only country to have opened their borders. We discover interviews of four generations of refugees. That is also why the Spanish Suitcase has this name: it is the memory of these people, symbolic of Mexico’s role at the time. The third is about providing the Spanish people with images of their past. It evokes their right to discover pictures of a major moment in their national history, uncovering pictures of their ancestors 40 years after Franco’s death. I was more interested in evoking the context and the common adventure experienced by the men photographed in these documents than about evoking the three photographers. My documentary shows the parallel between Spanish history, its exiled fighters, and these pictures. It is a very political film, evocative of the steps taken by Magistrate Baltasar Garzon.
You found pictures of a most unusual scene…
Yes, I was lucky to have discovered a sequence about the nurse that cared for Gerda Taro before her death. She tells how Gerda had requested her camera on her death bed. It was the only part of the film I didn’t actually make myself.

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Mexican Suitcase © 212BERLIN 2011