Zapata done right - with authenticity and heartfelt Mexicanismo
Probably you have to have some Mexican blood in your veins to get the full effect, but this 4 hour plus TV mini-series is better than an extended vacation in Guadalajara. This is the way real Mexicans want to remember the reluctant but unwavering hero of the Mexican Revolution. And not one actor in this little epic so much as hesitates to deliver their best in tribute. True there's a contrived romance meant to liven up the historical record, between the landowner's daughter and Zapata, but, oddly enough, it doesn't as much detract from the film as add a pleasurable dimension. The buxom Lorena is a pleasure to watch and, besides, there's no doubt women would have played a key role in the revolution as they do in everything Mexican.
Lorena Rojas seems to be burn on screen with unusually affecting passion, and Carlos Torres Torija is more than believable as the cruelly ambitious pursuer of Zapata. And then there's Jovana Zacarias as Josefa who fights along side Zapata knowing he loves another woman. But the key to all is the magnificent Demian Bichir as Zapata who seems to miraculously embody everything positive about the man with the inexplicable ease of someone born to the role. How anyone could follow this man's performance as Zapata is beyond me. I truly think Bichir has captured the man for all future generations in a way most actors would kill to be able to.
I know there's another movie, Zapata - El sueño del héroe, released in 2004 and I haven't seen it though I understand it was not well reviewed. I saw this movie, Zapata - Amor en Rebeldia, on DVD from Blockbusters and tried to comment on it earlier but could not find it until I looked under the director's filmography. That's a shame because it really needs to be seen by more people. This is a beautiful and touching film that only seldom shows its TV origins.
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