(Film/Video, Big Noise Films, April 1998)
ZAPATISTA! is an inspiring first-hand account of a struggle that will challenge the way you think about the world. Armed with sticks and words against a ?First World? military, eight thousand Zapatistas have fought 75,000 Federal troops to a stand-still. Ignored by a mainstream press that cannot and will not cover them, the Zapatistas have used poems and children?s stories smuggled on horseback and distributed on the internet. (from £7.00)
Darryl Hannah, Edward James Olmos, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Rage Against the Machine team up with three young film makers to produce ZAPATISTA!, a film from the front lines of the civil war in Mexico.
?This is not the last gasp of guerrilla resistance in Latin America. What you see here is not Communism or Socialism or Anarchism. This is something you have never before in your life imagined. . . this is the truth?
It is New Years Night 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) comes into effect. To the Mayan communities in the Lacandon Jungle of Southeastern Mexico, NAFTA symbolizes the culmination of over 500 years of exploitation. During the night, 2,000 indigenous soldiers occupy several cities in the state of Chiapas and declare political and economic independence. They call themselves the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN).
In the summer of 1996, three students hear something so new and so powerful in the Zapatistas? words that they realize they have to go to Chiapas. Armed with credit cards and a couple of state-of-the art digital video cameras, they make their way deep into the Lacandon jungle and into the heart of the first resistance movement of the twenty-first century. Their energy and their light-weight, inconspicuous equipment get them into places where the mainstream media cannot go. Inside rebel territory they meet with Dominican Priests and Mayan elders, with peasant soldiers and warrior poets, with radical students from the city and with the indigenous men, women and children who are fighting for a New World. This journey that would change their lives forever culminates in a rare, late night encounter with Subcomandante Marcos, the elusive spokesperson for the movement.
ZAPATISTA! is an inspiring first-hand account of a struggle that will challenge the way you think about the world. Armed with sticks and words against a ?First World? military, eight thousand Zapatistas have fought 75,000 Federal troops to a stand-still. Ignored by a mainstream press that cannot and will not cover them, the Zapatistas have used poems and children?s stories smuggled on horseback and distributed on the internet, to permanently transform the political imagination of a nation. ZAPATISTA! offers us a new way of thinking about political struggle and about what it means to live as a human being.
ZAPATISTA! recently won First Place for Documentaries at the NEXTFRAME festival and Best of the Festival at the Smithsonian Institute?s Latino Film Festival. It has been honored at festivals around the world, but it?s real success has been underground, where it has been seen by tens of thousands and has become a powerful manifesto for a growing global movement.
ZAPATISTA! is a non-profit project of Big Noise films co-produced, edited and designed by the Media Boutique. Profits from the film return to the people of Chiapas in the form of humanitarian aid.
?A provocative, hip, graphic exposÃ© of an inspiring human struggle.?
?ANDREW DAVIS, DIRECTOR OF THE FUGITIVE