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The Revolution will not be televised

The Revolution will not be televised is a film you definitely should not miss about the overthrowing and reinstatement of President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. The filmmakers were making a documentary on the presidency when the coup took place. You get a ringside view of a coup in progress and a government in crisis.

The film is interspersed with footage from Venezualan television. The private stations were the propaganda arm of the opposition forces, which according to the film wanted to stop Chavez’ from rooting out corrupt practices in the running of the state oil company.

The opposition leaders manipulate TV footage to make it look like Chavez has perpetrated a public bloodbath, and so convince the military and the police to support the coup.

Venezuela is also the second-biggest supplier of oil to the US, and so the US Secretary of State and the Head of the CIA feature prominently and uncreditably.

A popular uprising brings Chavez back to power. The restoration of the legitimate government is only declared successful at the end of the movie when the state TV channel gets up-and-running and is able to announce that Chavez is back in control. It’s a dark insight into the importance of television but also has a happy, democratic conclusion. It’s also a rollicking good story.

The film was shown on TV in Ireland tonight. It appears to be making the rounds of the film festivals (such SXSW in Austin – check out the review on the SXSW site). Well worth seeing.

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