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The film won several independent film awards, and earns its stead among other political truth-telling documentaries, including Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. The explanation of the role the Reagan administration played in providing money, arms and training to the corrupt Guatemalan government has relevance to countless other American interventions in foreign affairs. The filmmakers reveal both the complexities and the tragedies of the Guatemalan situation; scenes of Indians digging through massive garbage dumps for useful scraps are juxtaposed with those of government-sponsored beauty pageants in which Indians are proudly paraded in native costumes. Footage of breast-feeding Indians making camp in the jungle to avoid being found (and killed) is equally as compelling as the images from protests and brutalities that occurred in the cities.
When it comes to the DVD extras, skip the pointless introduction by Susan Sarandon, who delivers her canned speech unusually stiffly and wearing a schlumpy blue sweatshirt, and head straight for the audio commentary by filmmakers Pamela Yates and Newton Thomas Sigel and producer Peter Kinoy. Their insights, added in 2004, answer many of the lingering questions spawned by the two-decades-old film, including indigenous Guatemalan gains made (and lost) in the years since. --Brangien Davis
If you have an interest in the history of Guatemala and the Mayan people this is documentary is worth your time!Published 4 months ago by Donald B Srygley