A Place Called Chiapas (1998)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
While Mexico's indigenous peoples have been struggling for years to gain political representation and economic justice, their battles came to a head on January 1, 1994, when a militant political faction, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (or EZLN), led by a mysterious man known only as Subcommandante Marcos, led a massive raid that took control of five villages and 500 ranches in Mexico. The EZLN's actions were in protest of the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which (among other things) cleared the way for agricultural imports that effectively destroyed the livelihood of Mexico's poorest citizens. Since then, the Mexican government has ruthlessly hunted down the EZLN and their leadership, though officials have denied the existence of the Peace and Justice Party, the paramilitary group established to wipe out the EZLN. For A Place Called Chiapas, Canadian documentarian Nettie Wild spent nine months in Chiapas, Mexico, one of the nation's poorest regions and a stronghold of the EZLN, following the activities of both the EZLN rebels and the Peace and Justice party, and scoring a rare on-camera interview with Marcos (who prefers to communicate using the more anonymous and widely circulated medium of the Internet). A Place Called Chiapas won the prize for Best Documentary at the 1998 Los Angeles International Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for A Place Called Chiapas
As enigmatic as its subject material, the documentary makes the place seem like a cross between a new Revolutionland area of Disneyland and a local folk festival.
An important film that demands national exposure, although it's weaknesses are all too clear to an educated observer.
Audience Reviews for A Place Called Chiapas
"A Place Called Chiapas" is a documentary wherein a Canadian/Mexican film crew travels to the Chiapas region of Mexico for an international conclave thrown by the rebel Zapatista forces, and are surprised that they are asked for identification when entering a war zone. The results are mixed to say the least. While I have no problem with a lot of the focus being on the Zapatistas' peasant supporters who are persecuted and repessed by government funded militias and end up getting caught in the middle(Peace talks are stalled by the government's bureaucracy and the Zapatistas' democracy which involves five separate languages.), the filmmakers are much less successful in getting underneath the skin of the Zapatistas' themselves and their enigmatic leader Sub Commandante Marcos, even with a certain level of access. That might not entirely be the filmmakers' fault as the Zapatistas' seem to thrive on a certain level of mystery which could prove frustrating, also to their supporters. They were also one of the first movements to take full advantage of the internet as a marketing tool in the days after the fall of the Berlin Wall but before every other word out of the powers that be turned out to be 'terrorist.'
Good documentary about a conflict that briefly came to the world's attention thanks to the wonderful tactics of Subcomandante Marcos. Seeing it now several years later however, one wonders if the plight of the people of Chiapas has improved or not.
An excellent film! This is most memorable and a very interesting topic about the people in Chiapas!
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