SXSW Film Reviews

Our Brand Is Crisis

D: Rachel Boynton

Documentary Feature Competition

The wizard behind the curtain is a bald Southern guy with an almost musical way with words. If the political consulting thing doesn't pan out, James Carville could always write advertising jingles – in several languages. This documentary by first-time director Boynton proves democracy and capitalism are disturbingly intertwined. Campaigns are like intercourse: "You never know when you're going to peak," sings Carville in this close-up, behind-the-machine look at South American politics. In 2002, Bolivia was facing heightened economic crisis, and the incumbent president, Gonzalo Sanches de Lozada (Goni), wanted to win again. His product was himself. His consumers were the discontented Bolivian voters. All he needed now were his ad men. So, Goni hired Carville and his cronies at America's top political consulting firm. Then, they convened the focus groups, pie-charted the mudslinging, and found a jingle in "crisis." Does a government actually listen to its people's genuine concerns, or do they slyly put words into our mouths? If you truly believe in what you're fighting for, are you justified in getting dirty first? Our Brand is Crisis makes you wonder.

Paramount, 11am

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