Review: ‘Atenco, a Crime of State’

"Atenco, a Crime of State" blisteringly recounts a vicious, needlessly bloody confrontation in the streets of Atenco.

An angry “J’accuse!” directed at the Mexican government and its reportedly oppressive state security methods, “Atenco, a Crime of State” blisteringly recounts a vicious, needlessly bloody confrontation between police and military units, and campesinos and activists in the streets of Atenco, located northwest of Mexico City. Doc made by a cadre of anonymous lensers and editors known as the Klamve Collective caused a stir locally after its Guadalajara fest preem, though impact is sure to stay strictly within borders and in neighboring regions, where Mexican policies carry some weight.

Somewhat sloppily and hastily made, with a slapdash opening section that explains how Atenco residents turned radical in their 2002 opposition to a Mexico City airport expansion in their backyard, doc does a poor job of explaining how 2006 street battles actually began as an effort to allow florists to market their wares in town. Heart of the matter is a vivid series of on-the-scene sequences shot by brave camera operators, followed by testimony of several who describe gratuitous torture at the hands of cops and army personnel, including one death.

Atenco, a Crime of State

Mexico

Production

An Arte Musica y Video presentation. (International sales: Arte Musica y Video, Mexico City.) Produced, directed, edited by Klamve Collective.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Klamve Collective. Reviewed at AFI Los Angeles Film Festival (competing), Nov. 5, 2007. (Also in Guadalajara Film Festival.) Running time: 68 MIN.

With

Alejandro Llave, Jorge Salinas, Ricardo Loewe.
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