The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2003) Poster

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Most fascinating and shocking documentary I've ever seen
gogoschka-126 December 2013
Never before and never after has there been a documentary like this. What you get here is the most fascinating and unique look at historical events ever captured on film: you get to be inside a coup d'état in Venezuela while it is actually happening.

What happens before your eyes is stunning, shocking - and if it weren't for the very real events of similar nature in the past in other Latin American countries, unbelievable. The footage shown is brutal, but as to what we are actually seeing and what we are led to believe by clever construction - as Chavez' opponents are claiming - has to be decided by the viewer.

The heated debate this documentary has started is nearly as interesting as the coup itself, and I certainly won't give my personal opinion about what I believe to be the truth. But whether it's the best propaganda film ever or the most compelling capture of true events on celluloid since the footage of the JFK assassination - this is essential viewing.

See it, read about it - and then make up your own mind. 10 out of 10.

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It happened and we're there. That's enough.
Chris Knipp3 November 2003
Sometimes it's enough to be in the right place at the right time to make a great documentary. 'Chavez: Inside the Coup' AKA 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised' is astonishing in that way. It covers a South American coup from inside the presidential palace. And when the people take back control and restore the popular leader, the filmmakers are still on hand with cameras rolling.

There he is as the film begins: Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, the former military officer and admirer of Bolivar who years earlier attempted his own coup and was imprisoned for it.

Hugo Chavez is a hugger. He hugs and pats and grabs the hand of everyone he meets. He looks young guards in the eye and pats them on the chest as he walks by. They're like his young reflections: they're innocent boys with the same dark Indian face and classic profile he has.

Chavez speaks in a confidential tone. He expresses his loathing of globalization, his disapproval of the US bombing of Afghanistan, his faith that his grandfather was not an 'assassin' but someone who killed another man for honor. Reviewing a film, he stops to tell aides they must use the local media wherever they go in the country to maintain visibility and contact.

He meets crowds in the streets, crowds of the poor, smiling at him, optimistic about their government for the first time in their lives.

He receives hundreds, perhaps thousands of notes and letters, sometimes scribbled on scraps of paper, from poor people who adore him and ask him for help, and he has staff to read all these requests. He has his own weekly call-in radio show where he addresses people directly for all to hear.

Chavez is a big bull of a man, warm but without visible subtlety. He's one of the people, Nasser of Egypt without Nasser's paranoia. Even after being temporarily deposed from the presidency he won by a landslide vote of the 80% poor population of Venezuela, he refuses to prosecute the perpetrators of the coup and many remain in the country as opposition leaders. And for a reason: unlike Nasser, he was popularly elected and by an overwhelming majority. Chavez has a certain populist bravado. His presidency gives the poor hope and he shares that hope.

What we don't see is what specific actions Chavez takes to accomplish political changes in Venezuela. Except for describing his effect on the oil industry, the film isn't specific about the legislative changes of his early presidency. What we do see is a man who plays his role of people's leader and friend of Fidel to the hilt.

Irish filmmakers Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Briain came to Venezuela to simply cover Chavez's presidency, obviously sympathetic to his democratic rule and hatred of neo-liberalism and globalization and aware of the Nortenos' jaundiced picture of him emanating from the Bush administration speaking through Colin Powell. The US doesn't like Chavez's greater taxation of the oil companies - Venezuela is the world's fourth largest producer and the US's third ranking source of the substance. They don't like his indifference to the wealthy and to global corporations either.

Colin Powell isn't Chavez's only opposition. In Venezuela the 20% who didn't vote for him, the rich and the bourgeoisie, consider Chavez their enemy and organize for his removal. We see one of their meetings and follow some of their leaders into the street. We also see clips to show how this opposition freely uses the country's privately owned TV stations (only one, Channel 8, is government controlled) to attack Chavez daily as insane and insist he be ousted.

The Chavez opposition arranges a public confrontation that makes his supporters look like killers. Broadcasting this falsification on the privately owned TV stations, they tarnish his image badly and then stage the coup by force where leaders are trapped and Chavez himself forced to flee as a prisoner to save the others' lives. Public outcry swiftly leads to mass opposition of the new coup government though, and the Chavez supporters regain the presidential palace and bring him back. Amazingly, we see all this firsthand.

This documentary is more exciting than any fiction. It's terrifying and sad when the coup happens and we see it from the inside, knowing this was a popular government. It's exhilarating when the elected leaders are able to come back. This has to be some of the most amazing footage of history in action ever filmed.

Except for some information on what happened to Carmona and the other opposition figures after their ouster -- many staying, because of their freedom from reprisals, but Carmona turning up in Miami, no doubt to be coddled by the US and held for future use -- there is nothing further about the situation in Venezuela, which is reported to be very revolutionary and unstable.

'Chavez: Inside the Coup' isn't political analysis but impassioned engagé reportage and as such it has enormous meaning and impact. They were there. It recalls the slogan Granada's revolutionary government used before the Bush (I) takeover: 'Come see for yourself.' Through these Irish filmmakers, that's what we get to do.
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Do not miss this film!
jcduffy8 February 2004
I've been surprised at how negative--and vehemently negative--most of the comments posted about this film have been. I saw the film for the first time last night, and if I had time, I'd go again today. This film is a fascinating documentary, affording us a rare, perhaps unprecedented, fly-on-the-wall look at a coup in progress.

Most of the complaints I've seen about this film are ideological in nature--i.e., reviewers who oppose Chavez are upset that the film presents him so sympathetically. Though I myself am not a Chavez fan, neither am I moved by complaints that this film is one-sided, propagandistic, etc. When I go to see an arthouse film--especially one with a title like "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"--I'm not really expecting to see the kind of conscientious effort at even-handedness I'd expect from, say, PBS's "Frontline." I don't mind that the filmmakers have constructed a view of events that's sympathetic to Chavez, given that the whole point of the film is to challenge an already widely disseminated anti-Chavez representation of those same events. It's not as if the pro-Carmona folks who run Venezuela's private news stations haven't had a chance to air their version, no?

Besides, I'm not convinced that this documentary *is* unreservedly pro-Chavez. Particularly at the beginning, the film does not shy away from showing Chavez as a second Peron--another Latin American colonel turned populist demagogue. We see how he promotes a personal cult; we see how he encourages the poor to view him as their benefactor, someone who might buy them cement or intervene in their personal legal entanglements. The scene on the plane where Chavez discusses globalization doesn't exactly make him look like a sophisticated analyst of current events. And after that bizarre scene where he quotes poetry to explain how he came to know his grandfather was a freedom-fighter, not a murderer (with Simon Bolivar casting what look like incredulous, sidelong glances from where he stands framed in a painting on the wall), it's not hard to see why the opposition has questioned Chavez's sanity.

That said, the film clearly invites us to root for Chavez and his people during the coup attempt. And it clearly wants us to hiss at Carmona, and the privileged wealthy, and the fat cats who used their control of private media outlets to suppress the truth about what was going on in the presidential palace. One of the points that this film drove home for me is how important the media have become in shaping--not just reporting--events, and how frighteningly easy it is for a few people to control the public's understanding of events. That this film itself is an example of trying to control the public's understanding of an event is ironic but not scandalous. (Welcome to postmodernity.)

In any case, the film's point about media manipulation is well taken and powerfully made. If nothing else, the film offers an exhilarating ride, well worth the price of a non-matinee ticket, and it will provide plenty of conversation material for afterwards at the coffeehouse. Do not miss this film!
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Documentary and politics
lee-salter19 October 2004
I can not quite understand why any of the "reviewers" gave this documentary "0" other than for political reasons. No, the film did not investigate both "sides" of the story, but then surely one film in favour of Chavez against the tides of propaganda against him should be seen as an attempt to balance out the narrative overall (especially given A. the history of CIA involvement in Latin America in fermenting civil unrest - google National Security Archive and B. the coverage in that country and elsewhere of the clearly faked scenes of Chavez supporters shooting non-existent opponents). What is most amazing about this film is the fact that the film makers stayed in the presidential palace all of the way though the coup - surely a first in documentary making - images of a coup from both sides!!!
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See how the private media spearheads a coup d'etat against a democratically elected president
dirtyfinger23 July 2004
This is something new.

There's a coup d'etat and a couple of irish documentary filmmakers are right inside of it.

A democratically elected president who uses his power to bring literacy to his people and encourages them to read the constitution is being slandered by the private media openly as dictator, mentally unstable, new hitler, etc. without repercussion from the governments side (like, say, silencing them via bullets and other traditional dictatorial methods). Oh, and they still claim that they are being suppressed, of course.

See how the media gloats about their own role in the coup d'etat on TV after they toppled the government with the help of rouge generals (how much more stupid can you get?? ).

And see how the people of Venezuela march to the palace, holding the constitution in their hands, and reinstall their elected government.

This sounds like a Hollywood fairytale, but it happened for real, against the explicit wishes of the USA. The documentary is a historical masterpiece, shot from the center of the action, acute and totally embarrassing for the prime supporters of the coup: The good, democratic, freedom loving, benevolent USA (who still channel large amounts of money to Chavez' political opponents).

Also highly entertaining and exciting. 10 points.
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Great film, great education
mariposarosa212 March 2004
I was really interested to see this film because my roots are in Venezuela. My father is from the capital city of Caracas, and though I was raised with my mom I have never forgotten for a moment that that was an important part of my heritage worth exploring. It is very difficult in the United States to get an honest idea at what is truly going on in other countries--let alone, our own. All the reports I read about President Hugo Chavez and the situation in Venezuela talked about corruption, proceeded to make a villain of all sides, to paint it as a big, bad Latin American country that wasn't doing as the United States had wanted them to do. For the life of me, I couldn't get the stories straight enough to learn even basic information about the coups taking place, and what started the intense hostility, dividing cultural, social and racial groups in the country.

I am happy to say that THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED was a terrific and very educational look at Chavez, his progressive approach to politics--actually listening to the poor, and the more indigenous people in the community, instead of just catering to the needs of the upper class who basically rule the country, their money coming from oil and other exports. I take my hat off to the Irish filmmakers who bravely visited Venezuela to make this film, and that it was released in the United States for limited release in such a timely manner. The truth will set us free...
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remarkable piece of filmmaking
david41929 September 2003
I just saw this last night, it was broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's 'Passionate Eye' series. It has been screened recently (Sept. 2003) at the Toronto International Film Festival as well as many others. It is a quite remarkable film. The filmmakers literally stumbled into the story, being there to make a documentary about Chavez himself. Instead, they found themselves squarely in the middle of events as the coup unfolded. They had unprecedented access to events and people and, for the most part, let the story unfold as it happens. They, of course, have their own ideological perspective (which they make evident) but they keep themselves in the background and instead try to focus attention on the events, the people, and the background and history leading up to the coup. As a film, it is not ground-breaking in a stylistic or aesthetic sense, and that is, I think, the way it should be. What we get to see what 'embedded' journalism should really be. What we get to see is a remarkable account of a country struggling to attain democracy... a charismatic leader (Chavez) who actually cares for his people... a story about power and greed as a coalition of corporate/military/media interests combine to lead a coup of a democratically elected leader... and unprecedented access to a historical event as it unfolds.
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Best document ever!
malti200128 October 2006
The material in this documentary is so powerful that it brought me to tears. Yes, tears I tell you. This popular struggle of a traditionally exploited population should inspire all of us to stand up for our rights, put forth the greater good of the community and stop making up cowardly excuses for not challenging the establishment. Chavez represents the weak and misfortunate in the same way Bush is the face of dirty corporations and capitalism ran amok. Indeed, Latin America is being reshaped and the marginalized majority is finally having a voice in over five centuries. Though, in the case of Mexico, the election was clearly stolen by Calderon. Chavez is not perfect, far from it. He's trying to change the constitution to allow him to rule indefinitely. That cannot be tolerated. Enough with the politics and back to the movie; The pace is breath taking at moments, and deeply philosophical at others. It portrays Chavez as a popular hero unafraid to challenge the US hegemony and domination of the world's resources. If you think the author is biased in favour of Chavez, nothing's stopping you from doing your homework. One crucial message of the film is questioning info sources, as was clearly demonstrated by the snippers casualties being shamefully blamed on Chavez's supporters. Venezuela puts American alleged democracy to shame. Hasta la revolucion siempre!
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The influence of Media.
cool_but_rood31 October 2005
Whether this movie is propaganda or not (I firmly believe it is not), it really shows the power of Media. The importance of this documentary is not to show how good of a man Chavez is. It is really to demonstrate the way the Bolivarians saw how it happened, the Chavez way of seeing it. Although it may seem wrong and bias to support a film , I think the point of view shown in the movie is utterly legitimate. The Venezuelian people via the private media corporation of Venezuela only saw a one side perspective of the coup, the Neo-Liberal side. This movie shows us the way the Bolivarians saw it . Call it propaganda , I say it's a judgment call on your part.
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The new standard for competence about Venezuela
juujuuuujj6 June 2006
Ten out of ten stars is no exaggeration. This documentary provides the viewers with unique footage about the 2003 coup in Venezuela. This great film is now the minimum knowledge requirement if you want to express a competent opinion about Venezuela or Hugo Chavez.

The dramatic, electrified atmosphere, the unique footage will allow you to experience a true historic moment. You'll feel like you're in the middle of the situation.

The film will help you gain unique insight in the happenings of 2003 and will help you hear a side you will rarely hear on TV. It's something you shouldn't miss.
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A lot of Lies
gonzy1974-027 May 2004
In this movie, Chávez supporters (either venezuelan and not-venezuelan) just lie about a dramatic situation in our country.

They did not say that the conflict started because of Chávez announcement firing a lot of PDVSA best workers just for political issues.

They did not say anything about more than 96 TV interruptions transmitted by Chávez during only 3 days in "CADENA NACIONAL" (a kind of confiscation o private TV signals). Each one with about 20 minutes of duration.

They did not tell us anything about The quiting announcement made by General en Jefe Lucas Rincon Romero, Inspector General of the army forces, who is a traditional supporter of Chávez. Even now, in despite of his announcement, he is the Ministro de Interior y Justicia. After Chávez return he occuped the Charge of Ministro del Defensa (equals to Defense Secretary in US).

They did not say anything about Chávez orders about shooting against a pacifical people concentration who was claiming for elections.

They did not say anything about the people in this concentration that were killed by Chávez Supporters (either civilians and Military official forces).

They present some facts in a wrong order, in order to lie.

They did not say anything about venezuelan civilian society thats are even now claiming for an elections in order to solve the crisis and Chávez actions in order to avoid the elections.

That's why i tell you.... This movie is just a lot of lies or a big lie.
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Will the Real Hugo Chavez Please Stand Up?
thecineman26 January 2004
There are three reasons to interpret this film cautiously. First, it was made by people whose roots are far from Latin America. Second, the filmmakers were in Venezuela as guests of the Chavez government, and had been filming a documentary about Chavez for seven months before the coup. Third, we are never told anything specific about the people who orchestrated the coup. The film identifies two leaders, Pedro Carmona (who was sworn in as President during the 2 day coup) and Carlos Ortega, but doesn't say who they are (Carmona was head of the national Chamber of Commerce; Ortega still heads a federation of labor unions). No opposition motives or reasons for the coup are put forward, even for the purpose of discrediting them. Indeed, the film offers no analysis whatsoever of any of the events it depicts.

Chavez comes across as an energetic, gregarious, intuitive sort who is comfortable touching and hugging people everywhere he goes. He disdains free market economic doctrines. We witness demonstrations for and against the government, and exchanges of gunfire, in the days leading up to the coup attempt. Private media sources are portrayed as mouthpieces for the opposition. We are shown how one private television station uses selective footage from a particular camera angle to distort the account of a gun battle in the streets, suggesting that pro-Chavez gunmen are firing at unarmed opposition protesters, when footage from another camera angle (shown in this film) seems to refute this interpretation.

Events during the coup attempt move briskly. The pace, tension, and grainy handheld footage - all remind one of a Costa-Gavras docudrama. The filmmakers are able to shoot up close - close to both pro-Chavez officials and opposition leaders after they take over the palace. (Chavez is taken into custody and driven elsewhere, but we don't see this occur). What lingers are impressions of the grim, quiet, calm of people within the palace, even in the midst of political chaos and noisy crowds at the palace gates. The smug cocksure demeanor of Carmona and his senior associates as they announce the coup. The coolly improvised efforts of the palace guard, who, after two days, bloodlessly seize opposition leaders and retake control of the palace on behalf of the pro-Chavez faction, as Chavez officials reemerge from hiding. Finally an uncharacteristically fatigued, subdued Chavez arrives by helicopter from the place he had been detained. He speaks on state television and in the quietest possible manner tells everyone to `be calm and go home.' It is absolutely the right thing to say delivered in exactly the right tone. This man does have exceptional gifts as a leader.

Taken at face value, this film portrays Chavez as a sunny populist champion of the little guy who's struggling against international fat cats and their domestic puppets to do the right thing for his country. My partner and I left the theater almost feeling infatuated with this warm and earnest man. A majority of Venezuelan voters obviously like him. Chavez was elected to a 5-year term as President in 1998 with 56% of the vote, and two years later, after an overhaul of the constitution, he ran again and won with 59%. It's no secret that the Bush administration doesn't like Chavez: they fear that with him in power Venezuelan oil supplies might become too unpredictable and pricey, and they also worry about Chavez's leftist agenda and hearty embrace of Fidel Castro. The C.I.A. may have aided the coup attempt. Diego Cisneros, who heads the largest private media conglomerate in Venezuela, is an old fishing buddy of George Bush the elder. The ("W") Bush government rushed to recognize Carmona's coup less than 36 hours after it began, and CNN continued to run disinformation bulletins, announcing the coup's success, well after Chavez had reestablished control. I learned on the filmmakers' website that Amnesty International pulled this film from a Human Rights Film Festival in Vancouver B.C. recently because of reports from its Venezuelan affiliate that screening the film could cause harm to some people, presumably associated with AI, in that country. Harm by whom? Certainly unlikely from pro-Chavez people. They couldn't hope for better propaganda than this film offers.

But a darker side of the Venezuelan President emerges from other sources. Information available at the Human Rights Watch (HRW) website and from Reporters Without Borders (RWB) indicates serious compromise of freedom of the press in Venezuela throughout 2002 and 2003, troubles perpetrated both by anti-Chavez and pro-Chavez forces. In 2002, 1 journalist was killed, 58 were physically attacked, and another 16 were threatened. In January, 2002, shortly before the coup, a bomb exploded in offices of a daily newspaper that had published anti-Chavez views. In July, 2002, just three months after the coup, a private TV station was bombed. RWB states that Chavez supporters `.staged many protests designed to intimidate privately-owned news media and repeatedly attacked journalists covering demonstrations.[these events were] spurred on by the President's verbal attacks on the press and the radically anti-Chavez stance adopted by privately owned news media...' In February, 2003, HRW reported that four opposition journalists had been abducted or murdered. In July, 2003, HRW wrote to Chavez, asking him to investigate `critical threats to freedom of the press.'. Journalists whose work supports opposition views `.have been the victims of aggression and intimidation by Chavez supporters,' HRW claimed.

The next elections are scheduled for December, 2006, but under the new constitution Chavez helped create, a referendum can be called for, half way through any presidential term. As of late January, 2004, such a referendum is formally being sought, with nearly 3 ½ million signatures collected. If the petition is validated in February by the government, this would mean a vote in May to either oust Chavez early or support completion of his term. (I gave this film two grades: A- for rare fly-on-the-wall reportage of history in the making, and C- for lack of balance in content and superficial or absent analysis.
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The Truth
luv4vzla24 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Hello, my name is Andres Chopite-Parra, C.I. V-17.491.267 (Venezuelan ID #), and I watched the film and was disgusted. If any of you have seen "Fahrenheit 9/11" and thought it to be yellow journalism, the yellow journalism of "The Revolution.." is that of "Fahrenheit" to the tenth power. I was in Caracas during the days the film takes place. I was one of those marching against the president which in the movie makes it look like a minority of white individuals. I was there and that is a lie. I myself am not light skinned and I marched and we were millions. We were not a minority. The pro-Chavez rallies were around a couple hundred thousand people. Ours were surpassing the one million mark. If you want proof from true pictures that do not lie check out Furthermore, the video makes a statement about freedom of speech and how before Chavez the press and media was oppressed. Another lie. Before Chavez came to power the media could say anything they wanted but not now. In the video you will see images of people banging pots known as the "cacerolasos." The opposition started this alongside honking their car horns and keeping their emergency lights on as a form of protest and opposition to the regime and now the pot banging is illegal. You can have up to six months of prison for banging a pot in protest against the president. Radio stations are required to have 1/3 of their music be Venezuelan music, if not they will be shut down. Also, they are not allowed to mock or put down the president. Laws were passed to censor the media and the newspapers. Is this freedom of speech to you? Also, during the time of the coup the film says that the president used his own channel (channel 8) to speak to the Venezuelan people which were known as "cadenas." However, the film does not tell you that he would take over every Venezuelan television station and radio station. If you did not have cable TV you were either forced to watch what he wanted to say or just turn you TV off. Also, during the coup important footage of the massacre of the Guardia Nacional (National Guard) against the opposition was being played but then overtaken by one of Chavez' "cadenas." For several minutes even maybe hours those who were at home and watching the marches had no idea what was happening. Chavez had taken over and was claiming that there was complete peace and no disturbances happening. However, the private media broke the laws and split the screen. One side of the TV showed the marches of the opposition while the other side showed what was being shown on state TV which to me is true and unbiased news because they were showing both sides. Moreover, in the video they portray the city police and the opposition as suppressive after Chavez was kicked out of the presidency. This is a lie also. It is true that the police was shooting (rubber bullets) at the Chavez supporters. However, the film never tells you why. It makes you think that the police was doing this solely because they were in favor of Chavez' regime. Wrong. Those people were looting, destroying public property, disturbing public peace, and being extremely violent -burning and flipping cars, smashing store windows, and stealing. Was the police supposed to just sit back and allow this to happen? I think not. How else were they to control this mass chaos. The Chavez supporters were creating anarchy in the streets. That is the truth on why the police was shooting at them and taking them to jail. Something else that disturbs me about the movie is the mistranslations of the movie. It is mainly in Spanish with English subtitles but these subtitles aren't always correct. They mostly are translated to make it sound worse than what was actually said or parts of what is being said are omitted and made to sound like one sentence. The film as a whole is completely misleading and one big lie and it hurts me to see that it is being portrayed around the world as an excellent documentary. It has won over ten awards and has been nominated for over 20. Its a sad truth. However, I was there and I am Venezuelan and I am not white and not of the elite class and I am telling the truth when I say that this movie is one big lie. If you want more information check out the website I mentioned in the preceding or email me at Thank you for reading and I hope you realize that what this film is saying is not true.
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Quite Inspiring
CommieTT25 July 2003
Before I saw this film, I'd only followed the situation in Venezuela on a cursory level. I knew Hugo Chavez was better than the presidents that preceded him in Venezuela, but I had also bought some of the right-wing propaganda against him. After seeing The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, I've become a "true believer" in Chavez and Bolivarian Revolution.

The myths the film dispelled for me were:

-Chavez is a brutal leader

-Chavez doesn't allow dissent

-Chavez is a megalomaniac who may be insane

To the contrary, President Chavez seems to be a quite ordinary, working class, non-white man, but an extraordinary leader. His first comments captured on film after he is returned to the Presidential Palace after the coup were something like, "I knew that we, the people, would win." It wasn't about him. It was about what the will of the majority wanted. It was about what the constitution demanded.

His first broadcast to the people of Venezuela after the coup was directed toward calm and reconciliation. This was amazing for me to see. If he was as brutal as US media portrayed him, he would have incited his followers to go after those who supported the coup. Instead he said to those who dissented, "go ahead and disagree with me." No squashing of dissent there.

The film has a number of candid moments with Chavez. One of the most striking was his recalling his grandfather, who was deemed a "killer" by his grandmother. As Chavez studied who his grandfather was, he found out he was not killer - he was a revolutionary. And that is what Chavez has striven to be.

A terrific documentary that once again shows you can't trust the corporate media.

My rating: 9
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Amazing insight into the coup not widely reported in the west.
savagesteve1318 July 2004
It was a very unique insight into the coup that was obviously engineered by the United States. Western news media never even bothered to report on it and it was just a speedbump on the way to the Iraqi war. It was unbelievable to see the level of corruption in Venezuela, where the State's oil riches mysteriously don't make it to the public, but instead reside the hands of a few wealthy venezuelan individuals. It is truly ironic that the Venezuelan oil crisis was not a strike by Chavez, but a lockout by the powerful oil industry leaders there to force a crisis.

The dark ambitions of the coup leaders combined with the private media collaboration really makes you angry. Watching a democracy get toppled as easily as a child's lincoln log house demonstrates the true fragility of a government for the people, especially if the people become complacent.

As a patriotic American, I am saddened to see that our government conspired to overthrow a democratic ALLIED nation. I could understand a conspiracy to get rid of the government of an enemy, but an ally? What is going on in Washington?!?

The movie is truly an eye-opener into the dirty dealings that we get into when we perceive that our oil supplies are threatened.
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Excellent Documentary
obobooks9 April 2004
This movie is a must. With all the abuse that oil companies have foisted upon the world, it is inspiring to see an oil industry coup defeated by the people. It provides a clear contrast between the arrogant coup instigators and the humble people who turned out by the hundreds of thousands to support the democratically elected President Hugo Chavez, and to cut short the oil interests greedy coup. The filming and editing is excellent, and the motive for making the film is honest and enlightening. People who don't like this movie are probably thinking that it is America's God given right to control the entire world's oil supply, while not sharing the profits with the people from whom those profits are derived --- land with oil. This movie should encourage all honest people of the world to rise up and fight the imperialistic, colonialistic hegemony of global corporate abuse. This is an A++ movie.
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Edge of the seat stuff
raffles-47 March 2004
A remarkable piece of documentary, giving a vivid depiction of a country deeply divided within itself (for further evidence, check out some of the comments on IMDb...!). Compares extremely favourably with Oliver Stone's "Comandante" (which is mainly an in-depth examination of Fidel Castro's nostril hairs). I don't know whether Chavez is everything he presents himself as being, or yet another in the long line of populist Latin-American "caudillos". Nor do I know whether he will be able to make good on the huge expectations he has clearly built up among the poor majority of Venezuelans. It's hardly reasonable to expect a film like this to be able to answer such questions - but I've certainly now got a pretty vivid idea of what's at stake, and what it feels like to be caught up in the middle of a coup. Someone says in the film "we're making history", and that's exactly what the film feels like it's capturing. Outstanding stuff.
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A Piece of political propaganda favoring Chavez's Regime
Mazoruler22 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This films is nothing more than a piece of political propaganda in which a group of Irish filmmakers, without much knowledge of the crumbling political and social situation in Venezuela since the election of Hugo Chavez as president of the country, take a one sided view of the problem, showing only what the government wanted them to show. In fact they where guided by the government, filming only what was permitted to them by Chavez's supporters and not caring about the other side, the side of those who oppose Chavez. I think it's irresponsible to make a documentary and show only one side of the events in any kind of historical confrontation. This film reminds me of "I Am Cuba" (1964) by Mikheil Kalatozishvili, a documentary praising the Cuban revolution and the Castro Regime, as some kind of romantic crusade to save the poor from the evil rich people... Go ask the Cubans today, forty years later what they feel about the revolution. But "I Am Cuba" in spite of his naive ideological propaganda had many great visuals, some of them totally stunning. Those visuals make the film unforgettable. Sadly "Chavez: Inside The coup" doesn't have great camera work or otherwise. it's totally forgettable, but very dangerous, because when you show this film to people not very well informed about the real Venezuelan situation and the events surrounding the coup, it's a real piece of misinformation. You can almost believe Chavez is a real Messiah for the Venezuelan people, nothing farther from the truth. One last point to make: it's almost impossible to get close to Hugo Chavez with a camera, so I don't believe that the private conversations recorded by the filmmakers of Chavez And his Staff, where casual. Everything in this movie was approved by the government of Venezuela and many parts seem to have been staged to make this undoubtedly charismatic Latin American leader seem like a real nice chap, who is just trying to do good for the poor people.
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The resurrection of Goebbels
Hprog7 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This "documentary" is a proof of talent being used for mean purposes. The fact that it is financed by the venezuelan government gives it a lack of legitimacy in the purpose of searching for the truth of what really happened those horrible days of April 2002 in Venezuela, something even we venezuelans don't know for sure.

There are ways of lying, and the directors of this stuff lie both by omission and by knowledge.

The venezuelan political process is too complex to be easily understood by foreign audiences, and they take advantage of that. For instance *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* they show pro-Chávez demonstrators shooting at an empty street (what the hell they did that for?) in a way of saying they didn't kill anyone, but didn't bother showing the images we all saw here, of opposition demonstrators (and a journalist) falling dead or injured at the other side of that "empty" street. They can't explain why the chopper of the political police was the only one authorised to fly over Caracas that day and did nothing against the snipers that were all over the roofs of the buildings nearby the presidential palace, something that would exhibit how inefficient would be the security measures to guard the President. A few days after the "coup", the chief of the military guard in charge was asked at the National Assembly (our Congress) why didn't they act against the snipers and he said "'cause they weren't there to act against the president", isn't that a confession?

There is so much more, the fact that the highest rank military announced that Chávez had resigned and 2 days later he said he had lied because "that's politics" and nowadays is the Minister of Internal Affairs of Chávez' administration.

It would take me thousands of words to explain all the lies depicted in this "documentary", made with the intention of selling the world an image of the good old Hugo Chávez who rules for the poor and the bad rich opposition that wants him out at all costs, when the truth is that 60-70% of people rejects his government, and that percentage includes the poor.

I hope those of you who have seen and bought this will be able to see a different version that is being made by a group of venezuelan people showing no less than 30 lies.

Nazi propaganda has returned!
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Everyone MUST watch this movie
qw3rty11 November 2004
This is a great movie, it shows what our government will to to other countries if we don't like their government. This isn't as bad as what Reagan and Bush number one did to South America, but the US still has no business messing around with other countries like this. This movies also proves that American media spouts government propaganda. This is exactly what they did to Aristide in Haiti. The reason this coup against Chavez didn't succeed is Chavez was elected with over 90% of the vote.

This movie isn't just a political documentary, it would still be a great movie if it were a drama, it's amazing that this is real.

The other reviewer is lying when he says "Chavez seizes the airwaves", the private media is running anti Chavez propaganda all the time.
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Wow, I was bamboozled!
RATTFINK21 March 2006
I found that this movie was a little too simplistic. The message is basic. Chavez is loved by the people because he takes from the rich and gives to the poor. The rich in this case are Venezuelan oil tycoons, depicted as Washington's cronies, helping the US to suck Venezuela dry. When Chavez threatens this setup, the CIA helps instigate a coup. Chavez is shown as a populist leader and shining example of democracy, touting the constitution and its ideals. He's the little guy, David with his single government channel, up against Goliath, the rich businessmen and their many private channels spewing anti-Chavez propaganda and bankrolled by the US. But the real world is never that simple. Chavez can't be such a shining example of goodness, can he?

After watching the movie, I felt very angry at the fatcats (American and Venezuelan) who unjustly and unconstitutionally try to take power from the democratically elected president of the people. But after looking up Chavez on wikipedia, and reading some of the IMDb comments from Venezuelans, I wasn't so sure about him. Is he another Castro? It seems like he's got absolute control over the National Assemby, and he's using it to make constitutional changes giving him more and more power. Sure, he's gotten a lot done for poor people, but at what price? Apparently, unemployment and poverty levels in Venezuela have not improved much during Chavez's term, while state oil revenues have dipped. None of this is addressed in the movie.

The movie focuses very narrowly on the events that took place during the short-lived coup attempt against Chavez in April, 2002. For people like me, who don't know much about Venezuela, this movie did little to explain the country's recent history with any depth. All the viewer is told is that Chavez became famous after leading a failed coup attempt in 1992, then was elected democratically in 1998. We're shown scenes of crowds of poor Venezuelans all supporting Chavez, and rich Venezuelans loathing him. The only explanation given for this polar division along class lines is Chavez's plan to more evenly distribute the revenue from Venezuela's oil industry. But this seems to fall short of fully explaining the grievances against Chavez. Such vehement opposition to Chavez as shown in the movie can't come solely from rich oil tycoons angry because he's taking their oil revenues, can it? But that's the only reason given.

Then comes the coup. A crowd of anti-Chavez protesters parade to the oil ministry, then decide to move the demonstration to the presidential palace, where a pro-Chavez crowd has gathered. I would have liked to know exactly how many demonstrators were in each camp, but the movie doesn't say. Another murky subject never satisfactorily cleared up is the sniper shooting during the protest. The movie never clearly identifies who is killed by the snipers. Were the snipers shooting pro-Chavez or anti-Chavez demonstrators? The movie lets you assume that the victims were all pro-Chavez demonstrators, but never tells you outright who the victims were.

The killings are blamed on Chavez and the military withdraws its support of the Chavez government. Then Chavez is taken into custody by the coup generals and the coup government takes over the presidential palace. According to the movie, the coup government from the beginning starts to repress the people. We are shown riot police, purportedly sent out to repress pro-Chavez supporters. Nevertheless, news of Chavez's arrest and his refusal to resign spreads, and in a couple of days, seemingly millions of Chavez supporters surround the palace calling for his return. The palace guards, still loyal to Chavez, stage a mini-coup of the coup government, returning control of the palace to Chavez's people. Finally, the military gives in and returns Chavez, unharmed, and he resumes control of Venezuela's government. That's it, that's the whole movie.

If after watching this movie, you are filled with righteous anger and conviction that Hugo Chavez is on the side of good and that fatcats are on the side of evil, I urge you to do a little more research and try to get both sides of the story before rating this movie a ten while being angry at those who rated it a zero. This movie does little more than show a very narrow slice of Venezuela's history, specifically the events that took place in the presidential palace in Caracas over three or four days in April, 2002.
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A must.
sm0kco31 October 2003
I had no idea of the facts this film presents. As I remember this situation I accepted the information presented then in the media: a confused happening around a dubious personality: Mr. Chavez. The film is a revelation of many realities, I wonder if something of this caliber has ever been made. I supposed the protagonist was Mr.Chavez but everyone coming up on picture

was important and at the end the reality of that entelechy: the people, was overwhelming. Thank you Kim Bartley and Donnacha O´Briain.
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Startling, eye-opening documentary
Thucydides12 May 2003
This documentary has been aired on both RTE and BBC in the last number of months. Having seen it twice now I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in media and documentary film making.

Initially this documentary was meant to detail the political life of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The Irish crew set off with those intentions. What happens when they get to Venezuela is startling as they witness first hand the attempted overthrow by rebel factions (particularly the oil concerns in Venezuela) of Chavez and his government. What we the audience witness is just how the media manipulates the situation and in effect backs the overthrow of Chavez by distorting events that transpire as the coup heightens.

It really is an excellent documentary and a remarkable piece of work by a couple of novice filmmakers.
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A bag a half-truths
fnunez15 December 2003
This is a movie that tells exactly what is convenient to Venezuelan authoritarian and anti-democratic president Hugo Chavez. It seems like a paid assigment. It fails to say, for instance, that Chavez ordered the military to fire against peacefull demostrators and because of this many officials refused to comply with that macabre order, triggering a confusing situation that motivated Chavez to cowardly resign his post without fighting.

And, of course, it fails to tell that 7 out of 10 venezuelans want this demagogue to leave power because his government has impoverished the country, among levels of corruption never seen in a country regularly ridden by dishonest governments.

This is propaganda disguised as art. Well done, but terrible biased and dishonest. Shame on this bag of half-truths!
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Extraordinary tale of democracy in action. Must See.
mark-sugrue23 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This Documentary (Now available free on Video.Google.Com) is a fantastic demonstration of the power of ordinary people to overcome injustice. Everyone must see this.

Chavez was elected in a landslide vote in 1998. His platform was to divert the fantastic oil wealth from the 20% middle class to the 80% poor. He banned foreign drift net fishing in Venezuelan waters. He sent 10,000 Cuban doctors to the slums to treat the sick for free. He wiped out illiteracy and set up new free Universities.

But it was his 30% tax on oil company profits that got him in trouble with the Bush administration. In 2002, while Irish film makers Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Briain were interviewing Chavez inside the Presidential Palace about his social programs, a CIA backed coup was launched. With the cameras rolling, Chavez was captured and flown out of the country. It was announced on national TV that he had 'resigned'.

But the poor of Venezuela didn't believe the media. They went to the Palace in their millions and demanded that Chavez be returned. In the face of such overwhelming numbers, the military turned on the coup leaders and the plotters fled to the US. Chavez was rescued by military helicopter and returned to jubilation.
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