In OROZCO: Man of Fire, Directors Laurie Coyle and Rick Tejada-Flores create a visually arresting and whimsical documentary portrait of Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949), whose dramatic life, iconoclastic personality and dynamic painting changed the way we see art and politics.
The artist’s story is played out against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution, the Great Depression and both World Wars. Orozco survived the loss of his left hand and the destruction of two thirds of his early work by U.S. border agents. He and his colleagues Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros launched the Mexican mural movement that captured the imagination of Depression era America. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt put American artists to work on public walls during the 1930s, he looked to the Mexican mural renaissance as a model.
Orozco had a far-reaching influence on subsequent generations of American artists, including such important figures as Thomas Hart Benton, Jackson Pollock, Jacob Lawrence and the Chicano mural movement.
Although Orozco was an exceptional figure, his travels back and forth across the U.S.-Mexico border are emblematic of the experiences of millions of Mexican migrants and immigrants who come seeking a better life in the United States. His personal convictions and tenacity in the face of daunting obstacles make him a compelling figure with universal appeal.
The documentary weaves a rich tapestry of images and sound, evoking Orozco’s artistic style, while opening a window onto the artist’s inner life, passions and convictions.