By Stephanie Zacharek
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La Gran Falacia is a unilaterally scathing agitprop documentary on Puerto Rico's "social decomposition," a film that should perhaps come with a warning label.
Its stated goal is to incite indignation, shock, and outrage at a government it calls fascistic. Director Paco Vazquez tries really, really hard to do this. So hard, in fact, that it's difficult to view his impassioned pleas without a bit of skepticism, even though the project clearly stems from a deep love of home and country.
Things are not well in Puerto Rico. A revolving cast of academically lauded talking heads illustrates a broken system that defunds public programs and causes massive unemployment, forcing nearly half the population into poverty and onto public assistance while the rest grow richer.
The chasm between the haves and the have-nots grows wider every day. As in America, the need for campaign finance reform seems critical: Millionaires push politicians and lobbyists into agenda-setting positions, encouraging this social stratification.
Falacia's title is unintentionally self-referential, as the film offers many arguments without evidence, and it mostly plays like the cinematic equivalent of a PowerPoint presentation, regurgitating dense facts and figures so rapidly that to absorb them all you might need to take notes.
Vazquez never presents an oppositional view and seldom offers solutions to the problems he brings up, relying instead on hokey reenactments and treacly testimonials. Each theory and statistic supports the thesis, but the degree to which everyone and everything agrees elicits suspicion rather than interest.Follow @VoiceFilmClub
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