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News > Latin America

Mexico: EZLN Announces First Zapatista Film Festival

  • This festival will take place in November at Oventik, Chiapas, southeast Mexico.

    This festival will take place in November at Oventik, Chiapas, southeast Mexico. | Photo: IG: raulfernandopl

Published 5 October 2018

The Impossible Film Festival will take place in the heart of rebel territory in the Chiapas highlands.


The Sixth Commission of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) announced the 'Puy Ta Cuxlejaltic' (Snail of our Life), an 'impossible film festival' to be held in the rebel autonomous territory between November 1 and 5, 2018.


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This is the first film festival organized by the Indigenous army and will take place in Oventik, their most accessible territory in the Chiapas highlands.

Alternative screenings will take place at the Indigenous Center of Comprehensive Training-Earth University (Cideci-Unitierra) in San Cristobal de las Casas.

In the invitation communique, resembling more a short story written in the distinctive playful style of the Supcomandante Galeano, a girl known as ‘Zapatista Defense’ takes you, the reader, to the film festival by the hand, going through frightful scenes mixing classic film scenes with the Mexican misty highlands.

“By this moment you don’t know any more if you’re at the mountains of the Mexican southeast or at the Whitechapel neighborhood and then you wonder if, instead of taking you to the movies, the girl is taking you to the kitchen of the cook and doctor Hannibal Lecter,” reads the invitation-short story.

The screening films and other activities (“apparently incluyen, among other absurd things: a not-round table, maybe rectangular, about... soccer?… isn’t this a film festival? a movie that must be read and was directed by a schizofrenic beetle?”) will be revealed in the next few days, they said.

But they did promise this film festival will be like no other.

“The screen.. is not at one end, but in between, and people coming to the movie will be at both sides of the screen… on one side there will be those making movies… on the other side the public.”

Those making movies will be carefully watching and listening to the public and vice versa, but with public wearing black balaclavas. The screen won’t only be transparent, but it will also allow people to cross from one side to the other.

In the narrative, this screen situation causes a conflict, with each side throwing popcorn at each other. At the end, those making movies win, because the public ate their ammunition.

Zapatista Defense doesn’t lose her opportunity to insult Supcomandante Galeano (successor of the deceased Subcomandante Marcos, himself writing the invitation), and says he’s mad because the festival won’t show the films he likes, with naked women.

“That’s just how damned men are,” she says.

The Zapatista narrative often makes use of satire and analogies with political aims, and their communiques, those written by Galeano instead of Moises, are full of inside jokes and pop culture references.

However, it’s still unclear how much of this particular invitation are analogies that will be understood in situ and how much is literal.  Public and film makers might take a few surprises in situ.

The EZLN calls for art festivals periodically, now under the ‘CompARTE’ (a wordplay between share and art) banner. They hope this film festival will also become an annual thing.

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