Analytical Analysis Of The Film Zapatista

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This weeks reading analysis is based around the film called Zapatista, which was released in 1999 and was a documentary about the Zapatista movement in Mexico. Although it is a one-sided film, presenting only the perspective of the Zapatistas, it provides valuable insight into the peasant life under threat from government and corporate powers. The writings of Michael Kearney, Benedict Anderson, and Gintautas Mazeikis address the film in describing the Zapatista movement in terms of peasantry, reforming identity, and forging a new community of people. These parallels seen in the film and readings show the reconceptualization of the peasantry seen in the film. The Zapatista movement, as portrayed in the film, was a movement of the peasants of…show more content…
Kearney sees peasantry as a category of people that has outlived the conditions that brought it into being (Kearney 25). When a person thinks of a peasant they think of the feudal era where peasants were people who lived off a noble’s land and provided income to him. The feudal era has ended yet peasant is still used as a categorization to describe people that still farm and live off the land. They are mainly poor menial laborers, as evidenced by the film. The difference between the use of the word peasant is that in the feudal era the peasants were essential and in fact supported by the noble, but today the peasant is a target of developmentalism by corporate entities, which seek to root out peasants or develop them into something else (Kearney). This is what is seen in the film Zapatista, where the people are in danger of dying out. Since they are too poor to develop and participate in the market, they are being rooted out. This ties into identity. The peasants in danger of dying out see their culture and way of life dying out as well. In the film it is mentioned that the government neglects the peasants and thinks of them as objects (Zapatista). This kind of statement expresses the fear of being nobody of importance and this type of identity crisis inspires the sort of social and political movement seen in the film, the formation of the Zapatistas. Mazeikis makes this clear in describing how groups try to stimulate individualization and socialization (Mazeikis 60). They search for cooperation amongst themselves to achieve some solidarity in order to preserve their culture (Mazeikis 60). This is considered an active identity (Mazeikis 66). The Zapatistas, according to Mazeikis, formed a more active identity, the Zapatista identity, rather than let their peasant identity fade away. The conflict between the Zapatistas and the Mexican government is really a

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