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Our Brand is Crisis


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An evil twin to The War Room (1993), which documented Bill Clinton's first White House run, this trenchant video by Rachel Boynton eavesdrops on political strategists from the Democratic consulting firm Greenberg Carville Shrum as they devise a winning presidential campaign for Bolivian free trader Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada in 2002, only to see him driven from office a year later by antiglobalization riots that left more than 100 people dead. James Carville puts in a few ranting appearances, but the central figure is Jeremy Rosner, a soft-spoken, idealistic pollster who clings to the belief that his candidate's slim plurality on election day (he won just 22.5 percent of the vote) represents some sort of victory for South American democracy, even as the facile slogans and negative ads fail to translate into any sort of mandate. Boynton seems to blame this dysfunctional situation on the clash of cultures between the Bolivian people and the Yankee carpetbaggers, but it's worth remembering that the same crew engineered a similarly Pyrrhic victory for Clinton ten years earlier. 87 min. Facets Cinematheque.

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