Viva Zap Ata! Review

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Revolutionary Emiliano Zapate (Brando) leads the rebellion against the corrupt dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz in the 1911 Mexican revolution.


An opportunity for Marlon Brando to inject Method Martyrdom into the Mexican Revolution and for director Elia Kazan and scriptwriter John Steinbeck to slant things uncomfortably towards Commie bashing and overt Christian symbolism.

Pleading individualism to the point of desperation - "A strong man means a weak people: a strong people doesn't need a strong man," says Brando's charismatic leader at one point - the movie reveals in the process its own fundamental uncertainties. Overly significant, but still full of moments of real power.

Very much a product of its time (rather than this time in which it is based), which sometimes gives a misleading concept of the revolutionary struggle itself, a nonetheless considered and skillfully executed star vehicle for Brand, even if the sentiments should be treated with caution.