The little town of San Jose de Gracias lies far from the throbbing life of Mexico City. Over the years, historians and history books have overlooked it. Yet one of its sons, Luis Gonzales, returned after many years to plumb the memories of its inhabitants and to write Barriers of Solitude: The Universal History of a Mexican Village. When published by the University of Mexico Press, it became a surprising best seller in Mexico, later translated into French and English. Noted Latin American filmmaker Patricio Guzman (The Battle for Chile) made this rural chronicle evoking the history of San Jose from the memories of day to day life. Intercutting footage of pivotal moments in Mexican history -- the events considered history by the history books -- and the concurrent memories of the villagers, it shows how personal history and public history may have little to do with one another. In 1857 when the French Maximillian became emperor of Mexico with great pomp and ceremony, the villagers remember only an amazing aurora boreales that year. In 1910, Francisco Madero and Profirio Diaz waged civil war, but the villagers note only that the crop was bad. And when Zapata s band was inciting revolution, the villagers scarcely reacted. This is an exceptionally provocative film. It questions the notion of history, the relationship between rural communities and government, at the same time as it provides stirring film footage from Mexican history.