Nicaraguan-born former Florida National Guard soldier and conscientious objector Camilo Mejia is profiled by 80-year-old German helmer Peter Lilienthal in the probing, timely docu “Camilo: The Long Road to Disobedience.” Lilienthal enjoyed his greatest Stateside acclaim for his 1979 Nazi-era coming-of-ager “David,” and his latest is not dissimilar, exploring the dangers of marginalization and the forging of moral fiber in the face of difficult life choices. Sure to be in demand at human-rights-themed fests, pic should enjoy brisk tube and DVD sales among those who share the subject’s politics.Cut from the same cloth as recent Iraq War docu “Body of Lies” and dramas “Stop-Loss” and “Lions for Lambs,” the pic tells Mejia’s story and follows him on his post-prison activist path. Intercut with this is the story of grief-stricken Fernando Suarez del Solar, who lost son Jesus to friendly fire and is now holding the U.S. Army and government accountable. Pic explores emigration methods and policy, reveals dubious enlistment practices exercised on impressionable Hispanic youths and shows docu footage of U.S. soldiers manhandling Iraqi citizens. Overarching mood is one of righteous indignation. Tech package is no-frills crisp.
Germany - Belgium
A Steelecht, Filmwerkstatt (Germany)/Triangle7 (Belgium) production. (International sales: Steelecht, Offenbach am Main, Germany.) Produced by David P. Steel, Winfried Bettmer. Directed, written by Peter Lilienthal.
Camera (color, HDV), Carlos Aparicio; editor, Julian Isfort; music, Seraphin. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Documentaries of the World), Sept. 1, 2008. Original title: Camilo: Der lange weg zum ungehorsam. English, Spanish dialogue. Running time: 85 MIN.
Camilo Mejia, Fernando Suarez del Solar.