By Calum Marsh
By Michelle Orange
By Michael Atkinson
By Simon Abrams
By Zachary Wigon
By Aaron Hillis
By Casey Burchby
By Stephanie Zacharek
Has there ever been a more media-friendly revolution than the Zapatista uprising? Nettie Wild's Chiapas journal contains shots of rebel Web sites launched soon after the guerrillas' spectacular 1994 New Year's Day revolt and captures a droll Marie Clairephoto shoot, in which the gun-toting philosopher-subcomandante Marcos poses against the southern Mexico hills.
Still, the doc's early moments are disappointingly uncinematic. Paramilitary thugs threaten to kill Wild's crew but off-camera. Marcos refuses an interview with the cryptic words "She knows why."
As it turns out, though, Wild's film coalesces around the unseen. Far from the media crush, she joins a lonely jungle trek of indigenous villagers determined to reclaim their homes from the paramilitary; arriving at their village, the group is attacked as soon as Wild turns her camera off.
This memorable, frightening episode blank moments above all drives home how much remains out of view, even in "the first postmodern revolution." Eventually, the pipe-smoking cult of personality does sit for a session of jungle existentialism, but it's to Wild's great credit that by then the villagers' struggle the human dimension behind the war of symbols seems just as absorbing.
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