AZTECS introduces the last great civilisation of central Mexico, which flourished from the mid-14th century to its destruction by the invading Spanish in 1521. Presented by sculptor Antony Gormley, the film complements the major 2002-3 exhibition of Aztec culture at London's Royal Academy. Many of the extraordinary and splendid works loaned to this show are illustrated, along with sculptures and other objects filmed in Mexico City and at important Aztec sites.
With contributions from British and Mexican curators and academics, the film explores how the nomadic tribe of the Aztecs drew inspiration from earlier cultures. It looks at the Aztec understanding of the natural world, at their complex system of gods and at the importance to their religion of human sacrifice and ritual blood-letting. The sophistication and variety of their art is extensively illustrated, along with the exquisite craftsmanship of their manuscripts and their jewellery in turquoise and gold.