on 24 September 2007
This documentary was made by two independent filmmakers, who was in Venezuela for a film about President Hugo Chavez when the coup against him occurred. They immediately shifted focus and filmed the event as it happened. In addition to the coup as the main event, the film also includes some backgrounds on Venezuela's politics up to that point, which helps to explain why the coup happened.
The film is valuable in that it shows the western public the truth about Venezuela: that it has a real participatory democracy, one that people in the US/UK have never had a taste of; that it has a government leader that actually cares about the people, again something that has not happened in the US for a very long time since Kennedy; and that so much of what is said about it in the West is lie, lie and damned lie.
Beside the value of its accurate accounts, the film contains many moving footages about the interaction between President Chavez and the people. I was especially moved by a footage that shows Chavez listening to a mentally handicapped boy singing. Amid a world ruled by psychopaths, it is hope-inspiring to see that there still exist such leaders.
With part reconstruction and part direct shooting, the directors made a formidably limpid documentary on a coup d'état against President Chavez in Venezuela, organized by a foreign secret service and fully supported by the wealthy Venezuelan minority, the political opposition, the Church (a cynical laughing cardinal) and the US government. It was another chapter in the history of US foreign policy, which Steven Kinzer calls `Overthrow' or `sowing democracy American style'. In fact, this foreign backed intervention was not only a coup d'état against President Chavez, but also against the democratic majority which elected him.
That this is a brilliant documentary is mightily confirmed by the violent reactions for and against it on Internet.
As Saint Augustine said: `Men love truth when it bathes them in its light; they hate it when it proves them wrong.'
This movie is a must see for all those who want to understand the world we live in.
While time may have arguably dulled Chavez's sheen somewhat as a leader, (depending
on whom you believe) there's no denying the power of this `accidental documentary',
whatever your politics. If your mind is at all open, this is a must see.
The filmmakers were an Irish film crew doing a general portrait of the popular Chavez,
when they found themselves in the midst of an attempted coup by the rich right wing,
likely supported by the CIA.
The film is almost unbearably tense and exciting as the tens of thousands of people
surround the palace and demand Chavez's return to power.
Some important details get short shrift, but this is like watching a Costa-Gavras film,
with the added intensity of knowing it's real life.
Does it have a point of view? Yes. What documentary doesn't? Is it the whole truth?
I don't know. But I do know I learned a lot more about the coup attempt then I got
from reading The New York Times.
If you hate Chavez with a passion, then this will not be a film for you. But if
like many, myself included, you don't know enough to really judge,
and only get the soundbites of our corporate run mainstream media, this is
a valuable document.
Note: I was able to get a copy of the DVD with a quick Google search. So while
it shamefully has not been given mainstream exhibition, it is possible to buy
a copy. I'd love to know the exact story behind the film's lack of release!)