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The film sets out to do two things: first, to highlight Morale's campaign and portray him in the most charming way possible, and, secondly, to show the plight and dignity of the Andean Indians whose crusade against coca eradication has made them a cause célèbre among anti-American activists throughout the world- including the U.S. It succeeds on both levels even as it avoids an enlightening, non-partisan look at the consequences and rationales behind the anti-coca campaign.
The makers of Cocalero were given terrific access to Morales and you can't help but come away liking him. You see Morales campaigning down bustling city streets, stumping for votes in dirt-poor native farming communities, gamely spinning gotcha journos on television, and waxing eloquently from the podium before throngs of supporters. All the while, you're struck by his low-keyed personality. This is not the kind of populist leader we've come to expect. Morales is certainly charming and possesses a great sense of humor, but his manner is quite often underscored, and, at times reserved. He bears almost no resemblance to his bombastic, ideological partners Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.
In addition to Morales, the filmmakers spend quite a bit of time with Leonilda Zurita, a rural candidate for Senate living in a thatched roofed shelter with no walls and no running water. At one point, Zurita leads fellow members of the women's coca union in chants: "Viva Comrade Evo, Viva the coca leaf, death to the Yankees.Read more ›
Instead, I got a neutral (about as neutral as a filmmamker covering a campaign could get) look at the rise of leftist leader in one of the poorest countries in South America.
This film is a starting point to stimulate the interest of anyone who scratches their head and wonders what the shift to the left in Latin America is partly about, and why it happens.
I watched this documentary without much background information on Morales and was mainly interested in learning more. Although I learned some, I feel that if there had been more background given, I would have learned a lot more than I did.
I especially felt that the lack of context and narration was simply wrong-headed when they showed footage of what seems to be a massacre of coca workers. Why not explain what was happening? I think that people that already know a great deal about Morales and Bolivia will find this documentary fascinating, but that those who are just looking to learn more are likely to be a bit frustrated, as I was.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This documentary captures the dignity of a man, a nation, and its people. The unity, pride and advancement of Bolivia comes alive to the viewer by way of everyday people and a... Read morePublished on August 8, 2013 by Teardrop 440
We needed this for a Spanish class and found it very informative. I came away with a feeling like I was really there. The producer really knows what he is doing. Read morePublished on March 4, 2013 by Homeschool Mom
I have lived in Bolivia for the last 9 years. This is a good educational movie about the way the poor people there really live.Published on August 21, 2009 by Katherine S. Twilley
This is a wonderful documentary that follows The first Bolivian indigenuous President. He comes from such a humble background and is very likeable. A very well done video!Published on March 1, 2009 by F. Gehrig
This is a documentary recorded with a hand held camcorder and the takes are necessarily shaky, I advise the viewer to take some Dramamine 20-30 minutes before viewing. Read morePublished on October 9, 2008 by Javier Hernandez