Director: Gonzalo Arijon
Synopsis: In his 1971 standard work Open Veins in Latin America, Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano describes the centuries of economic exploitation of his part of the world. Almost 40 years later, Uruguayan documentary filmmaker Gonzalo Arijon reevaluates the situation in Eyes Wide Open — A Journey through Today’s South America. His search takes him from the soybean plantations of the Brazilian Amazon and the tin mines of Bolivia to the deep jungles of Ecuador. Arijon, winner of the Joris Ivens Award in 2007 for Stranded, shows how the current crop of leftist leaders in these countries are attempting to resist the squandering of natural resources by large, international companies. The principal culprits he identifies are the neoliberal ideology and the ensuing wave of privatizations. Arijon’s politically committed film allows the local populations to speak for themselves, interspersing this with archive footage of speeches by the likes of Hugo Chávez (Venezuela), Lula da Silva (Brazil), and Evo Morales (Bolivia). Galeano himself also talks — sometimes in poetic language — about how the rise of socialist governments in the early 21st century is benefitting Latin America, and what more can be done.