Film: 5323

Places + Locations | 1950 | Sound | Colour


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Mexico and Guatemala travelogue 1950's

Pan Am airliner ready for boarding, luggage being loaded on a conveyor belt. Air hostess stands at bottom of the stairs with hand bag over her shoulder, welcoming passengers onboard. Captain hands the stewardess a briefcase labelled “documents” as he boards the aircraft. Interior of plane, passengers take their seats. Captain at the controls in the cockpit. Pan Am plane takes off for Mexico. Captain talks into his radio. In the cabin an air hostess hands an attractive blond lady a tray of food. The lady is in a seat facing two Mexican gentlemen in suits and she starts up a conversation. The 3 enjoy an animated, friendly conversation about Mexico and basic Spanish words.
Rural Mexico, mountainous background, cactus in the foreground. A farmer with two heavily laden donkeys. Ploughing. Herding goats along a deserted road. Girl rides a donkey across a small stream. Villagers heading to market along a dirt road, some walk, others ride donkeys. Snow capped mountain with aloe vera plants in the foreground. People washing clothes in a stream.
City of Oaxaca. Street views, rustic colonial buildings. Exterior view of the Cathedral. The busy plaza, town square on a Sunday, lots of people milling about. Colourful rugs for sale with Mexican designs.
Restoration work at Monte Alban, the ancient capital of the Zapotecs. Archaeologist talks about his work on the pyramid building and the artefacts they have found. Wide view of the site. Workers pass stones along a long line of men up to the top of the pyramid.
Traditional dancers perform to a small audience amongst an archaeological site. A brass band plays the music. Colourful costumes with large headdresses.
A hacienda with pretty grounds, people gather for a fiesta. Colourful traditional local dress, embroidery and fine silk shawls. A long table laden with food filmed from above. Close ups of ladies in their traditional attire. Street views of the small town of Tehuantepec, view over the rooftops, a dirt street with a donkey and women carrying baskets on their heads. More women in colourful clothing gather for a street market. Lots of stalls. Busy basket stall under the shade of a large tree.
Rural scene. A farmer tries to lead a stubborn donkey, laden with firewood. The donkey refuses to move. A well dressed gaucho in his embroidered suit rides up on his horse. He talks to the farmer and shakes his hand. The donkey is led away. The gaucho continues to talk to camera. Close up of rider’s boot with spurs in the stirrup. Stylish gaucho does a twirl on his horse and gallops off.
Mexico City, busy street scenes, modern buildings, traffic, mariachi band, woman dancer in a courtyard in traditional dress, colonial buildings, cathedral with close ups of detailed carvings, National Museum entrance, items of traditional pre-Columbian art and sculpture, wide boulevards, flower market, floats and rafts carry visitors through a floral waterland and smaller canoes act as stalls selling food and drink, mariachi band on a raft on the canals, bull fight. Crowds stand and cheer the matador.
Film returns to the plane, where two Mexican gentlemen are talking to the blond lady about Mexico.
A Charreada, or Mexican rodeo. Charro, traditional Mexican horsemen and women parade into an arena on horseback. Traditional costumes. Lasso skills. Riders practice their skills. Interview with a charro. Close ups of women in traditional dress watching the action from the stands. Close up of a charro in his wide brimmed hat.

Mexican hat dance. Mexican national dance, performed by a couple in national dress. Close ups of the band playing, man on violin another with a large mustache plays a harp-like instrument. Crowd clap along to the music. Man kisses the woman's hand at the end of the dance.
Film returns to the Pan Am flight, stewardess makes an announcement. Passengers get up to leave the aircraft. Disembarking in Mexico City. Blond lady waves out the window of the plane. Two gentlemen she sat with wave back from the tarmac. Pan Am aircraft taxis back to the runway, air traffic control tower of Mexico City Airport in the background. Aircraft in flight. Blond lady as she sits in her seat and reads a book. View from the plane over mountainous terrain below. Aircraft taxis into Guatemala airport terminal. Passengers disembark. The blond lady is met by two friends.
Guatemala City, Guatemala. View over the city. Street scenes, colonial buildings, cathedral, ox carts alongside cars in the road. Cows in the street with plush residential buildings in the rear. Indian lady in traditional dress walks past with a baby in a sling on her back. Woman carry basket loads of goods on their heads. Blond western lady tries to imitate this and fails. Street scene, Guatemala handicrafts for sale.
Antigua, Guatemala.
A car drives along a dusty rural road. Sign for Antigua. View over the rooftops of the city. Colonial buildings, many partially ruined. Great façade of a church, but inside there’s no roof. Fountains and gardens amongst the ruins. A very long column of arches. A young Guatemalan girl sings in English. A hotel in Antigua, car parked outside the hotel wall. Inside there are lovely gardens, a fountain, horse riding and a band play the Marimba while hotel staff dance. Many men play a giant xylophone.
Car departs Antigua Guatemala along a dusty road, rural views of hills. Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, people stand at waters edge backs to the camera. View of the lake. A local lady and a blond Western tourist sit in a boat on the lake. View of boat as it speeds across the water. A market in the lakeside village of San Antonio Palopo. Guatemala Indians sell their wares and pack their heavy loads for carrying. A young boy sits in the shade. A small girl washes clothes in the lake. Wider view of people washing and bathing at the lakeshore. Bundles of wet laundry. View of a whitewashed large church. A mule and farmer pull a load of wooden planks through the dusty village. A small boy follows behind trying to carry a smaller load. The village of Santiago Atitlan, local women wearing traditional dress.
Town of Chichicastenango, Guatemala, view of the hill. A dusty road leading to the village, many people walking. View over the town of Chichicastenango. Locals walk along the steep cobbled streets. Sign for a hotel The Caravansary. Interior courtyard of the hotel where blond lady sits on a sun lounger. Her local guide arrives and they leave to explore the town. A witch doctor blesses a person. Women weaving colourful fabrics in a rustic courtyard setting. Town square where the dance of the conquest is being performed by dancers in colourful costumes and masks. Man plays a flute like instrument an others have drums. The assembled audience clap and cheer. The blond tourist and her guide leave the hotel and walk to the Sunday market. View over the large market with many tents and people. Market stalls selling household items, food and livestock. Pigs, sheep and chickens. Tourist lady stops to look at bright red chests for sale. Bright fabrics. Woman cooks bread on an open fire and stirs a pot of stew.
Religious procession through the streets of Chichicastenango to coincide with the Sunday market. Processions leads to the church. Exterior view of the church with lots of incense smoke. Traditional Indian prayers are given on the steps of the church before people head inside. Men swing incense burners and throw small offerings onto a pyre on the steps.
Pan Am aircraft taking off.

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