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Kit Le Fever
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Nicaragua 1979: Star photographer Russel Price covers the civil war against president Somoza. Facing the cruel fighting - people versus army - it's often hard for him to stay neutral. When the Guerillas have him take a picture of the leader Rafael, who's believed to be dead, he gets drawn into the happenings. Together with his reporter friends Claire and Alex he has to hide from the army. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
This film's opening prologue states: "Popular resistance to a series of unpopular dictators was growing in Nicaragua for over 50 years. By the Spring of 1979, Nicaraguans from all walks of life joined together in a final attempt to overthrow President Anastasio "Tacho" Somoza. As the fighting got worse in Central America, journalists throughout the world began to realize they could become a major international story". See more »
At the beginning, when Price is given a lift from the soldiers (Oates is among them), the shadow of the whole crew is cast on the scene. See more »
This film was a surprisingly quality portrayal of the difficulties faced by those in underdeveloped countries too often overrun by corrupt regimes.
It is presented through the eyes of a photo-journalist (played by Nick Nolte) & his contacts, as they pursue the news stories we in supposedly advanced nations, witness each day on our television screens. Of course, it is subjective but presented with an appropriate sense of the drama & courage that's needed to bring such coverage of gross injustice to the detached conscience of those whose governments often make insensitive contributions to the peoples, mainly peasants & the oppressed. These poor & downtrodden people cannot speak for themselves & rely on such photojournalism to be their mouthpiece to the wider world. It has applications far beyond Nicaragua, across all continents, for human rights' abuse was rife 20 years ago when the film was made, & is today, & likely will be far beyond.
Unlike too many modern movies that are action-filled with special effects but largely without plot, this movie does deliver. The central figure portrayed engages in a series of hit & run encounters with the authorities & its mostly ruthless army of foot soldiers. He & his associates live on their individual & collective wit's end. Within seconds, the victims can go from pursuer to the pursued. Let alone the predicament that local peoples find themselves in, for they would rarely if ever, be accepted into the supposedly developed nations whose propaganda currently rules the world, no matter how unjustly or offensively or insensitively it is applied.
Likewise, the survival of the photojournalists & their associates, are caught in dilemmas of conscience. For the oppressed peoples they dare to cover the struggles & injustice & suffering of, seem to be meat in the sandwich of leaders who use & abuse such locals, as puppets. Journalists often depend on the contacts they form, however transcient their interaction. The woman who beckons him into a backyard sanctuary; the woman who refers a request for directions to the authorities; a priest tortured & suffering unjustly while sharing a jail cell; the occasional compassionate soldier with heart enough for his potential victims vs dictatorial unjust judgements; people willing to bravely die for their cause in the name of their causes of their heart. Such as these present unpredictable twists adding to the unfolding drama, where war is being found & fought on many levels, personal & within or beyond organisations.
As such, "Under Fire" gives the viewer a reality in which to help a viewer to understand much more than it presents, or dares to represent. The roles of friendship, empathy & compassion present in many unlikely forms, so too, the consequences, even fatality, from the slightest failure to read the signs or sense danger, while the ruthless pursue goals without concern but for their hierarchy of self-made regulations & adherence to them.
All up, a quality movie not to be missed, and one which is likely to linger & enrich your appreciation of war correspondents of integrity & conviction, willing to lay their lives on the line.
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