Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: Brimstone & Glory

Documentaries are often stigmatised as being dry, overly-dependent on factual information and nothing more than something you’d watch on TV. Obviously, that opinion is nonsense, but it’s fair to say that some factual films aren’t the most visually appealing. However, there are many documentaries which are absolutely beautiful. Brimstone & Glory falls into this category. Viktor Jakovleski’s film is veritable eye candy.

Tultepec is a small town in Mexico. Since the 19th century it has become synonymous with fireworks. Many of the pioneers in pyrotechnics have come from the municipality. It hosts the annual National Pyrotechnic Festival, a seven-day event which attracts over 100,000 visitors. The highlights of this week are the contest of castles and the running of the bulls. Brimstone & Glory focusses on these two events.

Filmed over three years, Brimstone & Glory follows the locals as they prepare for the festivities and throughout the festival. However, it’s the visuals which really astound. It contains some of the most hypnotic and beautiful imagery I’ve ever seen. It’s almost overwhelming. The ‘pamplonada’ is a truly hair-raising spectacle, as alcohol and danger mix to produce a thrilling experience. Brimstone & Glory is a kinetic, vivid, wild and a truly awe-inspiring experience.

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