Drama, English Movies, Thriller

And starring Pancho Villa as himself directed by Bruce Beresford

And-Starring-Pancho-Villa-As-Himself.jpg This is a fascinating movie that is steeped in history. But history buffs and non-buffs alike will find this movie engrossing and engaging because it not only portrays an exciting time in early 20th century history but is also a commentary on the role of media in changing the course of history. The fact that ‘Lens is mightier than the sword’ is proved by the movie set at a time when the power of the lens was just being felt on the world.

The story is all the more interesting because its true – Pancho Villa allowed an American movie company (Mutual Film Company) to film battles in real time (because he needed money to finance the revolution) so that it could be made into a movie, which it was – called “Life of General Villa”, a movie that changed the public opinion of Villa and prevented an invasion of Mexico by US army. The story is about the shooting of the movie in the midst of a revolution and the relationships between the people caught up in it, in relation to each other and especially in relation to Villa.

The movie’s another attraction is that it features some fascinating characters from history – other than Pancho Villa himself, there is John Reed, D W Griffith and lots of silent movie actors.

But the main attraction by far is Pancho Villa himself. He was known to486px-Pancho_villa_horseback be a multidimensional man – a military genius whose methods were studies by the US army, a charming man who held whole populations in thrall, an uncle giving candy to children, a ladies man, a Robin Hood who robbed lands to distribute it to the poor, a selfless patriot who wanted to liberate Mexico but not usurp power for himself and a man who can be a ruthless executioner when the time comes. All in all, an engrossingly complex character which the tide of history throws up at times like those…

And Antonio Banderas, I felt, played the role very well. The complexities of the man was brought out well. Both his emotional side and his cold calculating mind were both portrayed perfectly.

Another good thing I liked was that the movie did not take liberties with historical facts except in simplifying it (The revolution was infinitely more complex of course). That is a refreshing change…

I saw a part of the movie when I was working with Cognizant in Kolkata, missing a part of the morning hours due to this!!! And I have been searching for this since then…The full movie did not disappoint me, in fact I would count it among one of my favourite movies…

Viva Villa!!!



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