Zapatista Chronicle


Thor Anderson
2016 | 88 mins | Work in Progress
Countries Featured: Mexico, Autonomous Zapatista Communities
Countries of Production: Mexico, USA
Work in Progress Screening | Director in Attendance
Saturday, October 15 | Noon | Program F30

Set at a Zapatista women’s conference and New Year celebration, this vivid archive of the movement examines its history through the impact of the women who have driven it forward. The Zapatista movement, spearheaded by the EZLN (the Zapatista Army of National Liberation), is one of the most successful revolutionary experiments in modern history. Comprised of tens of thousands of civilians in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico, the organization has been in a declared state of war with the Mexican state since 1994, initially staging military uprisings and later waging an ongoing campaign of civil resistance to advance its unique hybrid of Mayan indigenous philosophy and libertarian socialism. Illuminating the crucial role women have played in the EZLN’s development and women’s ascent in the public sphere, this film provides a firsthand experience of both an extraordinary event and a singular sociopolitical movement.

Re:Frame, My Perspective

“How does one ‘reframe’ a revolution? And how can we think anew about issues and complexities that somehow confound our best efforts to grapple with them: the rights of women to safety and security; the rights of all people to food, shelter, fair labor, health, and education; the practice of liberty, justice, democracy. The Zapatistas, now in the third decade of creating autonomous communities in rural Chiapas (Mexico), are reiterating the demands for local autonomy of the Mexican revolution of a century ago, and repositioning themselves as an alternative to an impersonal, globalizing world.

Margaret Mead herself made a career of framing and reframing the theory and practice of anthropology, first by looking at the stages of life through the eyes of her collaborators, and later using photographs and motion pictures—together with copious notes—to concretize her field research. Unsatisfied with the strictures of the frame, Mead proposed a camera that would record in 360 degrees, anticipating future technologies that are only now approaching fruition, and presaging virtual reality. One of the early practitioners of immersive fieldwork, her linguistic reframing took the form of memorizing 100 words a day, using the straight-edged frame of a notebook to open a wider window on a world.“    

—Thor Anderson | Director, Zapatista Chronicle