Political campaign in southern American country using U.S. tactics
I'm sometimes asked why I enjoy foreign films, documentaries and independent cinema. The answer is simple, I love learning most things international, and I'm always in search of a different perspective. And you should already know, I have little use for a Hollywood blockbuster.
The documentary "Our Brand of Crisis" is a wonderful example of what gets me excited. It archives the behind-the-scenes strategy of a presidential campaign in the Latin American country of Bolivia. The American consulting firm Greenberg, Carville and Strum (GCS) has been hired to assist a former Bolivian president ('93-'97) in winning the 2003 election. The U.S. raised and educated candidate, Gonzales "Goni" Sanchez de Lozada demonstrates little concern for the people. At first Goni is seen by most voters as being cold and arrogant and one who takes no responsibility for the mistakes made in his earlier term in office. GCS coaches him, monitors the polls, produces negative ads against the front-runner and uses test-groups in their quest to win the election. The polls slowly begin to turn thanks to the skills of GSC. At one point, even the U.S. Ambassador throws a road block in Goni' campaign.
This gritty film swings the door wide open on the honest feelings of people during political strife, even as they hold onto hope for a better tomorrow. As GCS frequently conducts focus groups with average citizens to obtain their feelings about the candidate and the issues, you find yourself becoming part of the election. The documentary goes a step further by returning to Bolivia at different times after the election. The results clearly define the hazards of exporting American-style campaign strategy abroad.
If you enjoyed the Oscar nominated documentary, The War Room, a behind-the-scenes look at a 1993 U.S. political campaign, this film should not be missed.
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