The DC Independent Film Festival will screen IPS fellow Saul Landau’s latest video that breaks new ground in political filmmaking. Using Mexico as an example of what much of the Third World has experienced, Landau’s film shows how foreign investment in export factories distorts both the culture and environment. Its exquisite photography, elegant editing, and original music probe the essence of the new economic disorder.
To stop construction of a corporate golf course — a symbol of globalization — and 1,500 vacation chalets, the people of Tepoztlan confronted federal troops. As it has done in countless other villages throughout the world where people still speak indigenous languages (Nahual), corporate culture invaded. The investors constructed not just factories and shopping malls, but in this Morelos village, proposed to replace soccer with the corporate sport of golf, which included building 1500 vacation chalets and a country club. The newly elected Tepoztlan mayor sneered: “We don’t play that sport here,” because, he explained, maintenance of a large golf course would sap badly needed farming water; pesticides and chemical fertilizer to maintain the grass would pollute the town’s aquifers.
In another story, two ecological peasants describe how Mexican army personnel tortured them because they tried to stop Boise Cascade from clear cutting forests in Guerrero. Tijuana residents describe how the US owner of a battery recycling plant allowed dangerous chemicals to seep into their neighborhood. It poisoned our children, the local mayor charged. Local, state and federal authorities refused to stop the contamination process. Then, neighbors stormed the factory and forced its owner to flee.
The video includes cinematic essays on progress, by native people as liabilities as told by Sub-Comandante Marcos, and sociologist Victor Quintana offers a comparison between golf as the sport of the rich and few as opposed to soccer as the sport of the poor and many. Musicians Greg Landau, Omar Sosa and Francisco Herrera combined to offer “Se Vende” and “La Pelotita Blanca”, dazzling compositions whose lyrics and sound express the agonies and humor the modern predicament.
This 33 minute video essay is ideal for high school classes and university professors that want to add an audio visual dimension to their teachings on globalization.