Wednesday, October 12, 2011


‘The field is like a woman. You live with it all your life; it’s hard to learn she isn’t yours.’

What can you expect from film which scripted by writer like John Steinbeck, directed by Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn! For me watching ‘Viva Zapata’ is as unforgettable experience like watching some of the greatest films of Hollywood ever made. The film is an epical saga of Mexican rebel Indian bandit named Emiliano Zapata fighting against ruthless and corrupt autocratic power to get justice for his men. 

It’s set on the period of 1909 Mexico where the land and field of aborigine Indians were usurped by autocratic power and a delegation of Indians came to a Mexican city to meet their despotic president Diaz who ruled as General for more than 34 years. There’s one rebel man who listens to his conscience and went against the ruthless power and became a bandit fighting for the injustice.  He soon got support from a man named Madero who wanted to establish peace and democracy. Zapata was appointed as army general and next we see the end of Diaz’s tyrant rule. The law and order of new authority orders to disarm the men fighting for justice but Zapata refused as he believes that one can only demands justice with a gun in his hand. Madero’s honest intentions to establish peace was overruled by conspiracy of other officials. Zapata and his men had no options left than fight with do or die spirit with lot of personal sacrifice.

So far I would rate this one as my favorite Elia Kazan film till day and the man brought to screen the method acting as central to his films. Undoubtedly he’s ‘the godfather of The Godfather’; as Brando’s three brilliant films of early career rests in Kazan’s directorial account and Brando is in crackling form as roaring tiger Zapata. His character gets a full circle from an opposing rebel to bandit to General and finally a president to see another rebel in front of him! All rest of the supporting actors immaterial of small or long screen time enacted their parts naturally, especially another brilliant actor Anthony Quinn and Jean Peters. It has absolutely classy camera work with brilliant angles and shots that you expect from the finest western films of it’s time.

Undoubtedly the film is cent percent classic Hollywood which is absolutely perfect and faultless that scores in each and every department of filmmaking -plot, screenplay, dialogues, performances, camera work, editing and off course the direction. No wonder why it is one of the favorite films of Sam Peckinpah!



Yashesh said...

Will need to watch it soon now! Even better than "Gentleman's Agreement"??

HIREN DAVE said...

Haven't watched 'Gentleman's Agreement' yet but I must say that 'Viva Zapata!'one of the brilliant and perfect film he ever made along with 'On the Waterfront' and both of these films have crackling performances by Marlon Brando...drop everything to watch this one first.