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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
from Film Forum, 11/06/03

The other big screen Revolution in theatres this week—The Revolution Will Not Be Televised—was made almost by accident.

In 2002, Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Briain, two documentarians from Ireland, happened to be in Venezuela working on a film about the country's democratically elected governor Hugo Chavez when a political coup was attempted. For 48 intense hours, they documented the violent uprising, and the things their cameras captured have provoked film critics to describe their movie as though it is an edge-of-your-seat action flick. One of the most intriguing elements of their discoveries suggests that the CIA may have been involved in the failed coup.

The United States government supporting the overthrow of a democratically elected governor? It sounds scandalous, but moviegoers are encouraged to look at the footage and think for themselves.

The film has achieved enthusiastic responses from the audiences at the recent Chicago International Film Festival, taking home the Silver Hugo award for best documentary feature. As one critic says in his review, "Sometimes the best photojournalism comes from being in the right place at the right time."

Heralding it as an important and riveting film, mainstream critics (including Roger Ebert) are heaping superlatives on the picture. Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader) writes, "It proves again that the best documentaries currently outshine Hollywood features as the most watchable, energizing, and relevant movies around." And Scott Foundas (Variety) calls it "a superior example of fearless filmmakers in exactly the right place at the right time."

Religious press critics are just beginning to discover the film. This week, J. Robert Parks (Phantom Tollbooth) writes, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is heroic journalism and explosive filmmaking. The movie is incredibly powerful. The film is clearly a case of being in the right place at the right time, but Bartley and O'Briain have also edited their footage for maximum effect. It is absolutely riveting and will be an entertaining eye-opener for both the novice in world affairs and the seasoned observer. The revolution will not be televised. Fortunately, it was filmed and an amazing film it is. Absolutely a must see."