Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Evo Morales
Director: Alejandro Landes
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
Born out of the U.S. war on drugs, an Aymara Indian nemed Evo Morales - backed by a troop of coca leaf farners - travels through the Andes and Amazon in jeans and sneakers, leading a historic bid to become Bolivia's first ... more »
Fresh and interesting
B. Magnoni | NY,NY | 12/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film provides an opportunity to witness the road to the presidency of an unlikley candidate in Bolivia. The filmmaker's access to Evo Morales and some of his supporters and allies provides a window into a political process that is both organic and extremely organized and hierchal. The power of community organization seems to outshine education, money, even ideology. The film also shows us the lives of women and men who live off of coca production, whose business has become more profitable as a result of the US crackdown on cocaine production. This relative profitability is also a powerful political tool to rally farmers behind this canditate. The complexities are somewhat burried in the story, but the perspective is sufficiently fresh to keep you watching and thinking.
Great Look at Electoral Politics in a Beautiful Country, But
Johnathan Gay | Appalachian Kentucky | 02/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Move over War Room, James Carville and Bill Clinton, and make way for Cocalero, a new political documentary featuring highlights of the triumphant Presidential campaign of Evo Morales, a Bolivian Indian and leader of Andean coca growers' union.
The film sets out to do two things: first, to highlight Morale's campaign and portray him in the most charming way possible, and, secondly, to show the plight and dignity of the Andean Indians whose crusade against coca eradication has made them a cause célèbre among anti-American activists throughout the world- including the U.S. It succeeds on both levels even as it avoids an enlightening, non-partisan look at the consequences and rationales behind the anti-coca campaign.
The makers of Cocalero were given terrific access to Morales and you can't help but come away liking him. You see Morales campaigning down bustling city streets, stumping for votes in dirt-poor native farming communities, gamely spinning gotcha journos on television, and waxing eloquently from the podium before throngs of supporters. All the while, you're struck by his low-keyed personality. This is not the kind of populist leader we've come to expect. Morales is certainly charming and possesses a great sense of humor, but his manner is quite often underscored, and, at times reserved. He bears almost no resemblance to his bombastic, ideological partners Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.
In addition to Morales, the filmmakers spend quite a bit of time with Leonilda Zurita, a rural candidate for Senate living in a thatched roofed shelter with no walls and no running water. At one point, Zurita leads fellow members of the women's coca union in chants: "Viva Comrade Evo, Viva the coca leaf, death to the Yankees." Typically I would have a bit of discomfort when hearing folks shout "death to the Yanks", but one look at the frailty of the assembled crowd and the jocular manner in which they hurl their chants make them seem more farcical than a threat.
The Zurita parts are fascinating. Here's a lady campaigning for Senate, one of Morales key politicos, and at one point in the film we see her apologize, as she offers a bowl of eggs to the camerman, that she "wasn't able to catch the chicken." At another, we watch Zurita as she helps bring in the harvest of the coca leaf.
Another interesting vignette shows off the PR skills of Adriana Gil, an attractive woman with traditional European looks who during the campaign worked as the spokesperson for Morale's political party, MAS. Gil is clearly a pleasant face and a strong spinmeister who was brought in to assuage the city people of St. Cruz who were mostly supporting the other candidate amid cries by Morales that he would try to expropriate land from those in cities who "had too much," and give it to the farmers.
If you want to view firsthand a fascinating foreign political process at work amid some gorgeous and fascinating scenery, this documentary will be well worth your time. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a dispassionate conversation about American and Bolivian coca policy and the good and bad of American foreign policy, this one won't satisfy you.
Here's the trailer: [...]"
Beautifully shot, thought-provoking documentary
Z. Smith | 06/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must say, as a supporter of genuine free-market ideology, I expected this film to be ridden with socialist propaganda.
Instead, I got a neutral (about as neutral as a filmmamker covering a campaign could get) look at the rise of leftist leader in one of the poorest countries in South America.
This film is a starting point to stimulate the interest of anyone who scratches their head and wonders what the shift to the left in Latin America is partly about, and why it happens.
Presidente Evo Morales, ¡Presente!
Javier Hernandez | México City | 10/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a documentary recorded with a hand held camcorder and the takes are necessarily shaky, I advise the viewer to take some Dramamine 20-30 minutes before viewing. But it is a deeply authentic and intimate depiction of Mr. Evo Morales' personality, his values, ambitions, and of his constituency. Ethnic backgrounds aside, as americans, from the Patagonia to Alaska, we should all celebrate the election of an american indian to the presidency of Bolivia and embrace him. All indians in the Americas have been excluded for far too long from participating in..., well, everything. History demonstrates we have been very bigoted and very unfair to american indians since the arrival of the españoles. This a humble means to bring a big message to everyone. Outstanding brave work of Mr. Alejandro Landes."