Film Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised I just saw this last night, and I have to say it was great! Wow! I gave a guy I know named rnaccus a plot summary so I shall cut and paste that here in case you are curious. BTW this film is a documentary about the failed US-supported coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2002. I'm lazy so you get to see my plot summary in the exact form as I submitted rnaccus (minus some grammatical errors and most of rnaccus' comments of course) Spoiler rnaccus: i hate to admit, but i've not heard of it Karate Snoopy: Apparantly it just came out, which I did not know. Karate Snoopy: Last year Hugo Chavez, a wildly popular democratically elected president was ousted in a coup. And two days later he was reinstated by a popular uprising against the coup attempt. Karate Snoopy: There are a lot of important details, particularly America's (Bush's) dislike and of Chavez and possibly their involvement in the coup. rnaccus: now i can't believe i haven't heard of that Karate Snoopy: YEAH! That's one of the big details actually! Karate Snoopy: In Venezuela they have a HUGE class disparity. Karate Snoopy: And guess who owns the media? Karate Snoopy: If you think it's the rich, ostensibly white, moneyed class, then yes. Karate Snoopy: The government only has one television station of their own. Karate Snoopy: So Venezuela, they're the fourth-largest exporter of oil in the world. Karate Snoopy: And the oil industry is run by the state. Karate Snoopy: But yet, apparantly because of the way the system has worked for years, the majority of those profits go to the wealthy in Venezuela. Karate Snoopy: Who are mostly white of course. The contrast in racial composition between Chavez supporters and opposition is pretty stark. Karate Snoopy: Chavez is a big supporter of the rule of law, redistributing the wealth of oil profits to the people, and free expression. For all these reasons he has wild support among the people. Karate Snoopy: He's sort of like the Democrat who has the support of all the labor classes, the minorities, the poor, in America. Karate Snoopy: While the opposition is the GOP, well-funded, corrupt white guys who run all the big businesses. Karate Snoopy: Basically. Karate Snoopy: So on April 11th, 2002, there are two rallies. Months and months of internal politics sort of coming to a head. Karate Snoopy: Where the private media all broadcast anti-Chavez rhetoric (think FoxNews.) Karate Snoopy: Which of course energizes its base into demanding Chavez' resignation for various ******** accusations like what the US left-wing makes of every US President. Karate Snoopy: And there are Chavez's supporters who adore him and believe it's all ********. Karate Snoopy: The Chavez supporters are loving Chavez in front of the Presidential palace, while the opposition are marching elsewhere in Caracas. Karate Snoopy: At one point in the opposition rally some people who have the stage convince the ralliers to change course, which of course was not previously approved by the govt, and head toward the Presidential palace to demand his head. Karate Snoopy: So pro-Chavez and anti-Chavez demonstrations meet, and the military is trying to keep both sides away from each other. Karate Snoopy: And all of a sudden snipers are shooting pro-Chavez people in the heads. Karate Snoopy:The documentary didn't say who the snipers were and I doubt anyone knows, that's the first piece of suspicion that this was a setup. Well everyone runs for cover, and because 1/4 of Venezuelans carry handguns the pro-Chavez people try to shoot back at the unseen snipers. Karate Snoopy: And the private media (who are anti-Chavez in case you didn't notice) repeatedly show this doctored footage of the pro-Chavez people firing and claim they were firing at anti-Chavez people, and that Chavez himself ordered this. Karate Snoopy: But the documentary people who were there at the pro-Chavez rally show the same events from a different angle, showing that the direction they were shooting was completely empty of people, there never were any anti-Chavez people in that direction. Karate Snoopy: They were trying to fire back at snipers only. Karate Snoopy: The state TV station is sabotaged and goes off the air, so only the private media is publicizing events. Karate Snoopy: And some generals start saying they support Chavez's removal, and eventually they threaten to bomb the Presidential palace if Chavez doesn't give up and resign. Karate Snoopy: Well, Chavez does give up, but refuses to resign, as recorded by the documentary people at the Presidential palace. Karate Snoopy: The military takes him away and the opposition swoops in and claims control, talks about the "mandate" for their takeover, that they are going to do things democratically, and they proceed to in the same speech dissolve ALL of government. Everyone laughed at how little they hid the hypocracy. Karate Snoopy: I mean the theater audience laughed. Karate Snoopy: This guy named Pedro C. whose last name escapes me, who is white and from what I remember was either the most powerful man in the state-run oil company or in the largest private media company. Karate Snoopy: Oops, Pedro takes over as President. Karate Snoopy: No one can get the state TV back on the air. Karate Snoopy: Eventually after a couple days word finally gets around that Chavez never resigned and is being held prisoner. Karate Snoopy: (This isabout where we see a clip of CIA director George Tenet say something funny about his disdain for Chavez, and earlier we heard White House press secretary Ari Fleischer give the White House's support of the coup.) Karate Snoopy: The private media doesn't run ANYTHING about the Chavez-supporters, pretends the people have accepted the coup, and also pretends that Chavez did resign. Karate Snoopy: Anyway, 2-3 days later the Presidential guard decides to take back the palace. Karate Snoopy: They do so, imprison all the opposition people in the basement except for a few including Pedro himself who somehow escaped. Karate Snoopy: The men and women of the Chavez government return, try to get the state TV back on the air. Karate Snoopy: They finally do, and announce what really happened, regaining support of the military, and bringing "millions" of supporters to surround the palace. Karate Snoopy: A few funny moments - you get to see the guy who arrogantly announced the dismissal of all the people in the elected government, you get to see him sitting on his *** in the basement looking disheveled and scared, and another you see a soldier point at an open safe and say "see they took everything in the safe". Karate Snoopy: They get the VP to return to the palace, they swear him in, he orders three commando units to bring Chavez back, they find out that Chavez was locked up on an island somewhere and an American plane was there about to take him out of the country. Karate Snoopy: They get Chavez to return to the palace and he immediately makes an announcement saying that it's okay to oppose him, he's okay with that, but that you cannot oppose the Constitution (which was created by referendum in 1999 I think.) Karate Snoopy: Yay Chavez is back, the bad guys are let go, defeated and weakened, the guys in the military who helped the coup are discharged, and all is well again. Karate Snoopy: The end. Karate Snoopy: Whew. You read all that? rnaccus: i did Karate Snoopy: Now I gotta pee. Karate Snoopy: brb Karate Snoopy: It's frightening when you compare this to the state of American politics too. And our media landscape. Karate Snoopy: That part in particular, when you have this right-wing apparatus that IS biased toward and owned by entrenched big money interests and makes up lies all the time. Obviously the documentary is going to appear sympathetic toward Chavez, because the documenarians (?) were there trying to film a documentary about Chavez himself, and were there during the coup by happenstance so that put them in among the pro-Chavez people during the whole thing, and, well, Chavez ultimately won. Among the things that strike me the most are: 1) The use of the media, the lies from the private media, and the media blackout that the private media used in order to support a coup against the government, it really puts into perspective how dangerous these latest few rounds of FCC media deregulation, for example, are, and when you consider what the Rupert Murdoch media conglomerate produces, it can easily happen here. This is actually what originally got me interested in seeing this movie - hearing about the FCC deregulation processes in 2003 led me to read "Our Media, Not Theirs" which details the subject of media and media concentration in America, and also mentions in order to use as a demonstrative example the documentary-in-production that I am currently reviewing, 2) The hypocracy and arrogant smugness of the people who attempted to take over the government (this part is dependent on subtle observation and some acceptance of what the documentary presents of course,) 3) The involvement and implicit support of the United States who (and these we know for certain) a) attempted to forcibly remove Chavez from Venezuela, and b) disapproved of Chavez because (as Tenet says) he "does not have the United States' interests at heart," and (though not certain but easily surmisable) also because Chavez opposed the "imperialistic" neo-liberal "free-market" policies. 4) how easy it is for chaos to erupt and for the powerful and wealthy aristocracy to take control when government is of such a size that you can easily "drown it in a bathtub", to borrow from the absolutely frightening Grover Norquist. Presented to me, I really felt for Chavez, and there was a strong sense of drama and of unfairness at those climactic moments when the coup occurred, and there was also quite a bit of cathartic joy when the the coup was overthrown and Chavez was vindicated and returned to office. I felt no doubt that I wasn't being decieved or presented a biased story by the documentors (sp), but then again I am probably predisposed in a lot of ways relating to the points I described above. Maybe this is more Barstool Prophets material, but I wanted people to, most of all, become interested in this movie while they can still find it in theaters. I, for one, will be buying it when I can find it on DVD so I can watch it a few more times. Anyway I think that from now on I may be hooked on Venezuelan politics, just like seeing what happened in Argentina while I knew three girls that lived there hooked me into what news I could get from that country. Hopefully this weekend I will also get to see (and review for you) a few more indie films, 1) The Fog Of War, which is an extended interview with Robert McNamara, and 2) The Sexy Chef, which is the long-awaited film by the guys who did the Oddjob comic book, a small press comic that is totally hilarious and that I fell in love with a few years ago.