On January 1, 1994, the Zapatista National Liberation Army--made up of impoverished Mayan Indians from the state of Chiapas--took over five towns and 500 ranches in southern Mexico. The government deployed its troops, and ... more »at least 145 people died in the ensuing battle. Fighting for indigenous Mexicans to regain control over their lives and the land, the Zapatistas and their charismatic leader, guerilla poet Subcomandante Marcos, began sending their message to the world via the Internet. The result was what THE NEW YORK TIMES called "the world?s first postmodern revolution." Years into the uprising, filmmaker Nettie Wild traveled to the jungle canyons of southern Mexico to film the elusive and fragile life of the rebellion. Her camera effectively and movingly captures the personal stories behind a very public clash of traditional culture and globalization.« less
"I saw this movie without previous warning, following the advice of intellectuals' reviews seemingly to the left of US political arena. I can only admire the camera of Netie Wild's. The best part of this documentary is undoubtly the photography, to which Chiapas geography and people contributed generously. Most of the interviews are well-conducted and some just missed the point entirely. In some passages of the film, the title of this review becomes embrassingly obvious. Wild demonstrates why in Latin America many social movements don't often trust pseudo-progressive artists and intellectuals. In her unsuccessful effort to surgically separate the armed movement from the communities, Wild's film becomes amateurish. For instance, she forces the script to describe the Zapatistas as cold-hearted when dealing with the displaced communities from Tila, after attacks from paramilitary groups. In her efforts, she provokes the Zapatistas into turning untrustful of hers. No wonder! Nobody who has been into Zapatistas communities in Chiapas could believe this side of Wild's story. In the end she forces herself into pretending to be an "objective" observer, while in a few parts of the movie you can see she really loses her coolness in front of the camera. In the end, this is a barely accurate vision of Chiapas, told by a typical USian (born in the US, "Americans" are all those born in the Americas) with a mentality of a charity tourist."
An informing documentary about the Zapatista uprising
"I found this documentary to be essential to my understanding of the indigent peoples' movement for independence and recognition in Chiapas and other parts of Mexico, under the leadership of Subcomandante Marcos. I really think that Nettie Wild did a great job of making this documentary. Although she is a zapatista sympathizer like most of us, she was very brave in showing the other side. There was a part where the rich ranchers told how the Zapatistas had taken their land. However, it was hard to feel bad for them when they were sitting in a very nice parlor with nice clothes, food, and educated manners, and the children, adults, and elderly of Chiapas are accurately pictured as almost naked, starving, homeless, terribly undereducated, etc. Although it is hard to agree with everything Marcos says and does, there is no doubt he is a brave and good human being and this film captures both parts of him - the actor who knows how to play the media just like his readers to get what he wants, as well as the human and indigent rights champion who is fighting for an awesome cause - very well. It contains exclusive interviews with him and many other leaders in the movement, as well as some heart-breaking interviews with the people of Chiapas themselves. It is important to the understanding of the situation in Chiapas, just as much as Marcos' book "Shadows of Tender Fury" and other correspondence by him is. If you want an accurate and moving look at the problems in Chiapas, this film is a must to watch. I recommend finding a library to rent it from as I did or waiting until the price goes down, but if you have the money now it is worth it, because this documentary is invaluable in its originality, source of information, and inspiration."
Not bad but could have been better...
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This video is for everyone: hardcore supporters of the Zapatistas and for those who know next to nothing on the struggle. It details the history and cause of the uprising in Chiapas but leaves much out of Marcos' personality. If you'd like to know more of his agenda you'd be better off reading his speeches in the internet. I also liked the way the documentary depicts the culture of those living in Chiapas."
neeterskeeter27 | 08/23/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film had its technical flaws, which were minimal. But when dealing with films of this nature I believe that what counts most is what message does, in the end, get across. And in this sense I am very comfortable advising anybody who has any idea of the movie's existence to please do yourself and everybody else a favor - SEE IT. Much critical information is to be found about the Zapatista's movement and its significance in a world dominated by corporate interests. It tells the story of a people and a cause which do not exist in most histories. It gives voice to the unheard cries of people living in the margins of main-stream media. Cries which are in very serious danger of being silenced. Any honest and rational person will see it. When I did I was brought into a world I had only encountered in writings: I instantly sided with the Zapatista's cause and i believe you will too."
A stunning film!
Emily | Silver Spring, MD USA | 09/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone interested in revolution, social inequalities, current events, or Mexican history...PLEASE see this film! It is difficult to come by film footage that tells the true story of goings-on in this troubled region of Mexico, and here we have it all. The viewer recieves cold, and often disturbing, evidence of the oppression of the poor in Chiapas. These are a people that have been terrorized for years, and thanks to Nettie Wild and her amazing crew, some more light has been shed on the situation. As I see it, this is definitely one of the most important movies I've ever seen, and if doesn't arouse some degree of passion in you, I really don't know what will."