The War on Democracy (NC)

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The Independent Culture

John Pilger has switched from TV to cinema for his latest documentary, though nothing about it vindicates the wide-screen promotion. Covering the tormented history of democracy in Chile, El Salvador, Bolivia and its neighbours, the film offers testimonies of the brutal repression and torture of ordinary people by American-sponsored dictatorships. It's a shaming record of US involvement in Latin America, although the feeling of solidarity with a cause has no bearing on whether we enjoy the art that promotes it. Pilger's portentous voiceover and intrusions into shot bespeak an excruciating vanity, while his sycophantic interview with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, one of the still-flickering hopes of Latin "people power", is likely to prompt suspicion.