When the Mountains Tremble
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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
- Introduction by Susan Sarandon
- Epilogue featuring Rigoberta Menchu
- Filmmaker biographies
Top Customer Reviews
The filmmakers' intent in making the movie was to record the injustices Guatamala's despotic government committed against the indigenous peoples and use it to sway American opinion. While the filmmakers are clearly on the side of the Indians they give both sides reasonable time to make their case. Not allot of camera tricks were needed to get you rooting for the natives. It is difficult not to feel an affinity for the 15 year old female gorilla was speaks of a better future while making a traditional craft in between skirmishes with the Army. This feeling is further solidified when the next scene shows a barking general in aviator glasses surrounded by armed thugs (we later find out the general is currently being prosecuted for genocide). To be fair, they also show the army's lowly foot soldiers, who also look 15, getting shot and explaining that they do not understand the mission only that they are doing their duty.
The humanitarian crises are also well documented. Indian IDPs explain how their village was raped and pillaged before being burnt to the ground. They now try to survive in the mountains, keeping lookouts for any signs of an impeding army.Read more ›
This movie tells the story, and puts the viewer in a compassionate state of mind so that they can really perceive what the conflict meant to the people that were IN it. I found myself asking, would I have fled to the jungle? What would I do if my child was starving and I was in that situation? What would I do if I saw my neighbor killed in front of me for having a dissenting opinion? Goodness, what a rough spot these peole were in!
Oh, there are plenty of facts presented, as it is a well executed documentary, but unlike a lot of documentaries, this movie goes further. It really helped me connect with the human element.
I found myself thinking of this movie the next day, in fact, it was on my mind when I woke up. It will make you ask questions about the role the US and US corporations played in the start of the conflict- questions that should have been asked very long ago.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you have an interest in the history of Guatemala and the Mayan people this is documentary is worth your time!Published 12 months ago by Donald B Srygley
Very accurate portrayal of the Salvador revolution!!!Published 14 months ago by Paul A. Leuenberger
This film captures how instrumental race and indigeneity was in the genocidal war that ravaged Mayan communities throughout the country of Guatemala.Published 15 months ago by Alejandro Villalpando