Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Film Review -- Los Caidos (The Fallen)

Los Caidos (The Fallen)
Rudy Joffroy
85 minutes

This film uses powerful narrative and visual accounts to explore the explosion of the Pasta de Conchos coal mine in Mexico on February 19, 2006, which resulted in the deaths of 65 miners.

It also exposes the severe mistreatment of miners and indifference to security concerns by the company, Grupo Mexico, and the government. It turns out that miners had complained about a gas leak prior to the explosion.

The corruption of Mexican authorities is widespread. The viewer is witness to the denial of the Vincente Fox government that any fault was to be laid regarding the mine explosion. There is also the supplanting of a legitimately elected union leader with an imposed government puppet. Mayhem culminates in a 152-day strike and occupation of a steel mill. The subsequent eviction results in two dead and 120 injured at the hands of police.

One desperately poor worker explains the pressure that is put on him to work. Before the explosion, when he expressed concern to his employers about safety issues, they said he could put up with these poor conditions or leave. For economic survival, he had no choice; he must work.

The conclusion of the film, marking the hundred-year anniversary of a mine explosion in 1906, epitomizes how little has changed over the course of a century in terms of the treatment and protection of miners.

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