Brillant Soil # 6

Brillant Soil (Tierra Brilliante)

09:30, Sunday 16th June, Museum Auditorium

rai 6 brilliant-soil

  • Director/Anthropologist: José Luis  Figueroa Lewis, Sebastián Díaz Aguirre   
  • Year of Release: 2012
  • Duration: 93 mins
  • Location: Mexico / USA
  • Ethnic Group: Purhépecha
  • Language: Spanish, Purhépecha, English


For centuries craft pottery has been one of the main activities of the indigenous Purépechas people from the northwest of Mexico. During colonial times the Spanish introduced the use of lead to the manufacturing process. Despite the knowledge that lead is a highly toxic ingredient, local craft potters have continued to use it in their glazes and as a result, they and their families have suffered the inevitable and irreparable health consequences.
Brilliant Soil focuses of the touching story of Herlinda Morales, a native potter who has dedicated her life to the prevention of lead poisoning in her community. The documentary exposes her cause and does much to support her in promoting non toxic alternatives to lead. Moreover, it has helped Herlinda gain wider recognition for her local pottery and, to her delight, led to her being reunited with her long-lost brothers for the first time in years since they emigrated to the USA.
An honest and moving story, Brilliant Soil captures the imagination and charm of Herlinda and her passion for helping her family and her fellow workers. Interest in her personal story has also created renewed interest in the pottery tradition of Purépechas, one of the largest and most important indigenous groups in Mexico.

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Organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland (RAI) since 1985, it is an itinerant festival that moves biennially from one university host to another, in association with local community and cultural organisations.

The festival will be held from Thursday 13 June to Sunday 16 June 2013 in Edinburgh, hosted by National Museums Scotland and the STAR consortium. Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) is a collaboration between the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Over 60 new films will be screened alongside a conference 'New Observations' and a selection of special events and workshop about art & anthropology and the use of archival film.

The RAI Film Festival is held in collaboration with the Center for Visual Anthropology, University of Southern California.

Our Sponsors

The Festival gratefully acknowledges sponsorship from:

UDDA NMS SSGS ED Unversity of Aberdeen StAndrews WILEY