Hugo Chavez Revolution will not be televised
Documentary, English Movies

This revolution will not be televised directed by Kim Bartley and Donnacha Ó Briain

The_Revolution_will_not_be_Televised In an age of 24 hours television, when we have the whole world beamed to us by an almost inexhaustible array of channels, "This revolution will not be televised" poses some very uncomfortable questions about what we are fed everyday from the newsrooms of the world
A paranoid's favourite statement is – "We are being lied to". This being an affront to our superior intelligence, we choose to deny, even though we realize the kernel of truth in it. Or as Kurt Cobain put it succinctly – "Just Because You're Paranoid, Don't Mean They're Not After You"
When you see something like "This Revolution will not be televised", you realize that the paranoid is probably much saner than we thought. And you wonder what else is here that you think you knew, but probably don't know s**t
The setting of the documentary is the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela in which western influenced and financed groups and army elements tried to oust Hugo Chavez, the charismatic rebel president who had come to power on the back of a popular upsurge. Chavez was intended to become another bloody statistic in the long history of popular presidents in Latin America removed by force, the United States always being the alleged culprit. Look at what happened to Allende
Filmed by Irish filmmakers Kim Bartley and Donnacha O Briain, what was originally intended as a biographical sketch of the Hugo Chavez, turned into a fascinating look into the coup events as situations changed rapidly and drastically around them.

The filmmakers trace the whole coup attempt – from the inflammatory buildup by the private media, to street demonstrations in which mercenary snipers shot unarmed civilians to the chaotic events in which a section of the army backed by a US funded businessman took control of the government. It almost seemed like deja vu. images
It mirrored innumerable such events that has happened in the past – from Arbenz to Allende. The coup masters very smugly proclaimed that they have regained the control of the country that was theirs by right, which the upstart revolutionary Chavez had taken from them for a short time. All seemed according to script.
Then incredibly, completely against the tide of history, the coup was defeated. The South American continent, so used to being beaten down by its big neighbour north, saw something so unprecedented that it has become an example of hope for millions of people. The rebel army generals and the businessman put up as the puppet President were ousted from their new posts within just 2 days. Not by any armed insurrection or any military or armed intervention.
But by the common man on the street, who just refused to give up hope and just bscap0025cz5refused to give up on the president who had given them so much hope. Joining them was the common soldier, who had more in common with the population demonstrating for Chavez than with the generals leading them. The soldier, who  refused to obey orders and the common man, who refused to lie down again. These led to one of the most unprecedented moments in history
As to why Hugo Chavez inspired so much loyalty among the rank and file of the population and why he inspired such an abiding hatred in the elite which had ruled Venezuela for most of its history, is beyond the scope of this review. But just to give an idea, Chavez was the first non-white president in Venezuela since probably the Spaniards overran South America 500 years ago. And then refused to kow-tow to the elites, instead preferring to reach out to the impoverished mass. Chavez instituted a huge program of education and literacy along with a program to raise the political consciousness of the people. For the first time, the people were encourage to read the constitution and understand their rights. In short, Chavez gave to the 99% of the population a hope that they never thought existed.
And for this, he was hated (and still is) passionately by the ones he had ousted. Their power on the country was slipping. Hence the time-honoured tradition was resorted to – remove the elected president in the name of democracy or human rights, depending on the flavour of the season. In this case, both reasons werebscap0022rq3 used….
What this documentary does show starkly is this. It is so easy to subvert the media and what it shows us and 'educates' us that it is frightening. So much depends on the way the camera angle is shown – a crowd of 100 can be made to show 1000 and vice versa. People being shot on the streets – by the government or the mercenaries outside the view of the camera?
Chavez never banned the media, and even then was accused of muzzling free speech.This documentary shows what a sham "free speech" can be, when that term is used to slander and turn an event into what the media owners want. After months of calling Chavez to be everything from a tyrant to a dog on the street, after the illegal coup attempt was done, the media celebrated the event as a "Victory for Democracy" and more hypocritically "Victory of the people", without ever consulting the people
"This Revolution will not be televised" is unique because it was bang in the middle of the unfolding events and we are able to get an unique glimpse into the event from both sides. The events as reported in the private media and how it was actually happening.
revnot2 After the people revolted and refused to be cowed down. And then, when the soldier refused to fire on the crowd, the game was up. Chavez was rescued from the jaws of death by the paratroopers who remained loyal to him and brought back to a deliriously cheering crowd. And what does he do to the people who had him nearly killed in cold blood? Nothing. He lets them go."Victory for people" and "Victory for Democracy" indeed.
It is not only a fascinating watch that moves like a thriller. It is also a peek into how our "Free media" works. How a group's agenda is projected as the will of the nation. Its a stark pointer to the fallibility of the notion that a free enterprise is necessarily a free of bias enterprise.
And you wonder what else we have not been told and not shown
And you wonder, how many revolutions were not televised?









Bollywood Movies, Documentary

Inshallah Kashmir directed by Ashvin Kumar

Inshallah-Kashmir-poster-movie-online Banned in India by the ever faithful Big Brother of a censor board, the director took the unprecedented step of releasing this online (apparently there is no law against releasing something online…yet).
Ashvin actually opened it up for download for one day – on 26th January, the Republic Day. That’s quite a symbolic gesture!!
And once you see this you know why…
Which is why you need to see it
It has been the practice of all governments to try and dictate what we must see and hear and there us always an effort by all governments to make the public buy into their version of current and historical events.
And there has been an increasing virulence of intolerance by self-appointed patriots whose sense of injustice bleed too easily. Look at what happened to Symbiosis university’s Kashmir seminar “Voices of Kashmir”, which was cancelled due to the ‘fatwa’ by the right wing fringe.
And Kashmir is one topic which will always invoke strong reactions. And this is one topic which will always see an effort to give the ‘official’ version of the story
In Kashmir, Ashvin Kumar has taken different interviews from a wide variety of people to give a very different perspective of Kashmir, different from what the self-censored mainstream media would not give.
Through the interview, Ashvin talks gives a feel of the history of Kashmir and why so many things that we see today has roots in events kashmir missing people that happened long time ago, even as long ago as Akbar. But more recently due to the allegedly rigged elections in 1990. During the whole length, all the topics, deemed too controversial for our sensitive ears are brought into the open – rigged elections, army and police brutality, excesses on civilians, mainstream indifference, the Kashmiri Pandit exodus
The people interviewed include ex-militants, current militants, former Kashmir administrator Wajahat Habibullah, Nobel nominated activist Parveena Ahangar (who has struggled for two decades to raise attention to thousands of missing people, or as she calls it ‘enforced disappearances’), Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, a Hindu Pandit couple who were kidnapped by militants
Perhaps the most controversial interview was that of women of village of Kunan Poshpura, who were raped by the Indian army personnel on 23rd February 1991.
It is almost taboo in India to talk about excesses by the Indian Security forces, as if they are somehow fundamentally different from armies in rest of the world. In a situation of warfare where you have absolute inshallah-kashmir ex militantcontrol over life and death decisions, its a power that corrupts easily. So to expect the Indian army to somehow be made of supermen of  morals is to believe a whole hypocrisy.
There were no holy cows who were spared. Its not only the army and the Indian government who are brought to the dissecting tables, the people on the other side – the militants are brought here too.
Ashvin tries to show that there are  no good guys or bad guys. There are only situations and there is only human nature. People, be they the idealistic youth who took to militancy or the common soldier, act according to the prism they are shown. The militants see the Indians as invaders who use guns to silence Kashmir. The soldiers see the militants as an extension of Pakistan, the enemy who is an enemy because they always have been.
Importantly, what ‘Inshallah Kashmir’ catches brilliantly are the ordinary people who are caught in the middle. The women searching for 20 years for their missing children, husbands and brothers, who are all most certainly dead. The women who were raped just because they were vulnerable enough. The aspiring young cartoonist who was made to feel a terrorist in his country’s capital just because he was Kashmiri, the budding cricketer who lost a leg just because he was caught in a demonstration, the militant who was disillusioned with both sides of the conflict, the kidnapped couple who helped their captors escape because they understood that the army could not…
Inshallah Kashmir shows that that we are far from making any solutions in Kashmir. Instead of winning over people, we are subjecting a new generation of Kashmiris to only one image of India – that of a rifle and Army boots. How can we make it better from that?
asvin kumar inshallah Kashmir The documentary has a very raw feel to it – almost as if the director wanted to maintain the immediacy of the videos taken. It is almost as if its something that you could have taken. Its one the main reasons you get drawn to ‘Inshallah Kashmir’. It puts you behind the camera and brings you into the lives of the people that the censor board didn't want you to see…




It is important that you see this. Its good to have your beliefs challenged.
Catch the whole documentary here…


Documentary, English Movies

Chevolution directed by Luis Lopez, Trisha Ziff

It is the story of the power of a single image


che-guevara1242900104 Everyone has seen the image. Some may have wondered who he is, some of us know but everyone has been struck by it – the image of a man wispily bearded, hair flowing like a mane, looking intensely, penetratingly over the shoulder of the photographer as if into infinity.


Arguably the most reproduced image in the world, the image has adorned everything from the ubiquitous T-shirts, coffee mugs, key chains, vodka bottles, swatch watches, protest marches. It can be found painted on the walls of ghettos of Miami, in the guerrilla headquarters of the Zapatistas in Mexico, in the insurrection in Palestine and Philippines and as a tattoo on the arm of Maradona. It can be equally found as a backdrop of a swish bar in Bangalore to a free clinic in most rural Bolivia.


No other image in the history of images has been used so widely in so 126500 many, often contradictory, settings. No image has  been able to evoke the sense of empathy among such a diverse group of people cutting across geography and time as has this image. No other image has spontaneously come up whenever there has been a conflict – from Sarajevo to Iraq.



This is the story of this image. This is also the story of the power of an image, of an icon – in sustaining a myth and in propagating it. Images _44165313_che_socks_416_300 tell a thousand tales but few image can tell both the story of universal rebellion and defiance and sell socks and vodka at the same time. That is why this is a story that needs to be told.


The first part deals with the man Che Guevara and a short history of the man – from his motorcycle journey to the Cuban revolution, then bringing in the history of the man who took the iconic image, an image that he labelled later as Guerrillero Heroico (Heroic Guerrilla) – Alberto Korda.


We see the context in which the photograph was taken – a mere two frame shot that Korda took during a memorial service for victims of the La Coubre explosion, when Che stepped forward for a few seconds before disappearing from_44159588_korda_body_ap view. The power of the image struck Korda but it was not widely circulated until the student riots of 1968 in Paris, when the image suddenly exploded and became a symbol for the passions of an entire generation.

The story moves on to how various parallel developments, not always connected to each other led to the image going viral at the right moment – Fidel and Korda’s refusal to copyright the image in the name of free expression, the invention of new imaging and copying techniques, the dawning of the age of larger than life celebrity  (Elvis, Dylan, Beatles etc), rebellion fervour in university campus around the _44159602_bottom_body_afp world (Vietnam war was reaching its climax) and finally the murder of  Che in Bolivia, martyring him, at a time when he was arguably the most famous revolutionary in a world where visual media was beginning to flex its muscles.


All of the conditions come together to make the image an almost independent entity from the man. With the result that down the decades people starting consuming the image unaware of who the man is and what he stood for. But what is fascinating is how the core idea and ideals of the image and indeed of Che himself survived the commercial appropriation. While Che’s image adorns bikinis in Brazil, it is still held aloft when injustice is protested anywhere in the world.


The film-makers have made a very slick and coherent narrative of the journey of the image. The pace never lets up and it has managed to bring together many different viewpoints in one single storyline. Weche5-733474 hear the history of the man and move on to the image and then on to how that image began to mean everything rebellious even after being appropriated. We hear from the people directly responsible for making the image go viral and from those who consume the image – from people who denounce him as a murderer and wonder what is there to emulate to those who say that they are not believers but if they have to believe, they would believe in god Che. Along the way we are given a grasp of why Che is still so fascinating and mesmerising to us, fifty years after his death (he is worshipped as a saint in Vallegrande, where he was killed).


No side is taken by the makers and the narrative is politically neutral (not an easy feat when dealing with Che). The focus is on the image and the threads that come and go from it…


It has got a great cast (including film-stars!!), perfect editing, fascinating footage, great music and most of all it has a great theme as subject. We gain a better understanding of ourselves and the society _42379938_cheafp416 around us, our need for heroes and how a powerful image like this fulfils all our needs. We get a better understanding of the power of image. And not the least, we understand Che a little better, to his relevance, as an icon, as an ideal in a world he would have felt intensely uncomfortable in…


I was shocked to see the rating on Imdb, one of the rare times that the site has got it completely wrong. I wonder if people actually saw this before rating it. Or maybe it was only the Cuban-Americans of Florida who voted!!!

Documentary, English Movies

Conspiracy Theory – Did we land on moon? directed by John Moffet

did-we-land-on-the-moon One of the most enduring conspiracy theory that just refuses to go away..and after you watch this documentary and after you follow that up with an internet trawl, its easy to know why.

The unbelievers (calling them conspiracy theorists would be tainting them unnecessarily – especially when they could be very well true!!!) come up with come damning points. The believers refute these points hotly and the unbelievers counter-point. Its an intense back and forth that rivets you.

This documentary which was shown in 2001 on Fox Networks, is however biased towards the unbelievers, a fact that you realize when you look up the issue on the internet. A documentary which is biased has a serious flaw. Having conceded that point, it does build up a convincing case for side that believes that the moon landing took place in a studio on earth. The evidence is many sided (scientific, visual, sudden and strange deaths) and they all just make you stop and think.

When one has read about set-ups that governments have manufacturedConspiracy Theory - Did We Land On The Moon[(006329)15-06-50] around the world, many documented (and many naturally undocumented, which then become conspiracy theories) which leads me to believe, at any rate, that a hoax like this can be carried out if a powerful government is hell-bent on it. “Wag the Dog” and “Capricorn One” are just two movies which show how easily it can be done. Knowing all this and knowing that US Government needed to take a huge psychological leap forward to beat the Soviets (and also to distract from the Vietnam War), we suddenly have both the motives and the means and the capabilities (if a superpower cant pull this off, who can?)

It makes for a compelling story. And when you look at the internet forums and look at the other side of the argument, I realized that even with all the refutations made by the other side, some questions were not answered satisfactorily. Why didnt the Soviets do it? They were far ahead in terms of technology. Why are none of the astronauts allowed to live a public life? Sudden inexplicable deaths of a large number of american-flag-on-the-moon astronauts in the period of the moon landing. When you think of these and other things, you realize that there is truly no smoke without fire. Somebody is not telling the whole truth.

Which is why I too believe in being an unbeliever. However I am open to a clear refutation. But then that’s the beauty of conspiracy theories – they refuse to go away. They tend to excite our imagination, our sense of mystery and that is something we like to have. I guess, if they prove that we actually landed on moon, I would be a pretty disappointed believer!!!


March Of The Penguins
Documentary, English Movies

March of the penguins directed and co-written by Luc Jacquet

march-of-the-penguins Incredible and breathtaking are two words that escape you quite soon as you start watching this documentary which has a narrative like a movie script. At the core of the script is a very human story of love, perseverance and sacrifice and yes tragedy and triumph in equal measure. The words “Human spirit” has been used so often that it is easy to forget that the the same spirit of dogged determination to survive is present in all species – from the lowly ant to mammoth whale. It is just that we have the faculty of diverse language to express it more often and very self-consciously. For the ‘dumb animals’, the ‘spirit’ is just a way of life.

Of course, what makes this movie extremely watchable is due to the fact that it has penguins in its main starring role. Who hasnt found these gentlemanly birds cute?!!! When they waddle across the wide expanse of Antarctica, swaying from side to side, they look exactly like portly Victorian gentlemen complete with a coat, who have had a little too much of the drink!!! Put a hat on them and from a distance they would look like a procession of 19th century gentlemen brought accidentally by some time machine.

That and the fact that they almost look and act like humans at timesmarch-of-the-penguins-01 (which is us human’s primary fault of course – in our infinite ego, we like what looks like us). When they find their mates, they almost look like a couple in extreme love, standing with their heads close together, caressing each other with their beaks.

The story focuses on the whole process of the march of the penguins to the breeding ground, to the role that each mate plays in the survival of the egg and then the chick, to the dangers and the tragedies that lurk at every corner, to the final triumph of the chicks finally surviving to add to the tribe. What is implicit in the story is that nothing comes for free and the ultimately without cooperation, nothing is possible. The penguins, in fact, has a very egalitarian approach to the process (born out of necessity, no doubt), which is very endearing.

The movie is one of a love story. What makes it magnificent is the fact that it has exquisite scenic photography, great moments captured on camera and above all, it only makes the penguins look, well, very cute!!!

A great watch…

MarchOfThe Penguins