Chávez counters Hollywood with state-produced saga

Por Venezuela Real - 13 de Octubre, 2007, 16:09, Categoría: Imagen gobierno / Chávez

Miami Herald
October 13, 2007

President Hugo Chávez is taking on Hollywood with the first major film produced by his government, a historical saga about Venezuelan independence hero Francisco de Miranda.

The movie was produced by Venezuela's new state film studio, and at a premiere screening Thursday night, Chávez called it an effort to counter Hollywood's global domination by offering homegrown alternatives.

''There is no revolution if we don't recover our culture, our own values,'' Chávez said. ``It's part of the fight against [U.S.] imperial hegemony.''

The film, Miranda Regresa, or Miranda Returns, is directed by Luis Alberto Lamata and features Jorge Reyes as the hero who led Venezuela's independence struggle against Spain before dying in prison in 1816.

American actor Danny Glover, a supporter of Chávez, plays a minor fictional role as a Haitian who meets Miranda in New York and joins his struggle.

The film, which opened in Venezuelan theaters Friday, was produced with a budget of $2.3 million by the state-run Cinema Town, which Chávez founded last year. It was shot in Venezuela, Cuba and Prague, Czech Republic.

The studio outside Caracas is producing three dozen other movies, documentaries and TV programs, including a film about Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA operative who is accused by Venezuela and Cuba of masterminding the 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner.

Critics say that a heavy government hand in filmmaking may put politics before art. But Lamata denied serving political aims, saying, ''We tried to take an objective view of Miranda'' to teach viewers about a historical figure.

He said the movie will be shown at international film festivals.

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