Film Archive


German Competition 2015
Atl Tlachinolli Alexander Hick

Mexico City, a juggernaut of millions of inhabitants, fighting for survival. Its counterpoint is the mythical Axolotl, which does not undergo any metamorphosis but is losing its biotope. A bold portrait of a city.

Atl Tlachinolli

Documentary Film
76 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

University for Television and Films Munich, Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, A.C.
Alexander Hick
Juan Pablo Villa
Alexander Hick
Julian Sarmiento
Alexander Hick, Ileana Villareal
You don’t have to be a zoologist to understand Alexander Hick’s fascination with an animal singularly adapted to the formation of myths. The axolotl, a caudate, refuses to metamorphose. It will not go ashore but prefers to remain in the water as a larva and still manages to breed and regrow limbs. Even its heart and brain regenerate! The only problem is that its habitat has vanished. An 8-million metropolis is now rising where there used to be water: Mexico City. Alexander Hick asks how humans treat the conquered paradise through insistent images full of cultural historical, religious and mythological references. In fragmented parallel episodes he sketches the inhabitants of this megacity and their struggle for survival. Violence and corruption have hollowed out everything: the family, the institutions, the state. The film does not give us any faith in their self-“regeneration”. On the contrary.

So the axolotl, worshipped by the Aztecs, is the last witness of an oppressed and abused landscape and an age when humans were still capable of building advanced civilisations. An intelligent – in the noblest sense of the word – essay film, and the bold portrait of a city.

Cornelia Klauß