Our Brand Is Crisis

Director: Rachel Boynton

2005| 85 mins USA

In this astonishingly candid and bullet-paced documentary, American political consultants advise a former Bolivian president on his campaign for re-election. Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, aka Goni, is seen by his American strategists as a progressive idealist trying to liberalize business practices and strengthen the democratic process. However, to many Bolivians, he is a Clintonesque neo-liberal who has allied himself too closely with the U.S. With the polls showing little chance of re-election, Goni hires the firm run by Stan Greenberg and James Carville, who bring all their skills and powers of persuasion down to La Paz to influence the election. How they do this and how the candidate, his party, and the Bolivian electorate respond are the most exciting revelations of a film that plays out almost like a fictional adventure story. Rachel Boynton was given remarkable access to this high-stakes client/consultant give-and-take and, in her incisive debut feature, she makes highly compelling use of it. Asking whether marketplace strategies can be applied to the ‘spreading of democracy,’ Boynton comes up with some troubling observations.

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