Documentary of a Downfall

Pamela Yates traveled to Guatemala in 1982 to document that country’s civil war. It had gone on for 22 years, and it was nowhere near its end. Military insurgents had just taken a foothold in the country’s government, and they continued the systematic extermination of indigenous Mayans. Rigoberta Menchu lost her father in the war, relating her experience to an anthropologist that same year for the book I, Rigoberta Menchu. Her recollections became the focal point of Yates’ documentary When Mountains Tremble. The war ended in 1996, but Yates’ work with it hasn’t. Granito: How to Nail a Dictator is the sequel to her first film. At the behest of international criminal lawyers hoping to bring charges in Spain against dictator Rios Montt and others, she hopes to use archival footage from her work to bring justice to a country still recovering from 36 years of civil war and genocide. Granito has won numerous international awards, including a nod at 2011’s Sundance Film Festival. On hand is San Francisco-based prosecutor Almudena Bernabeu, who has worked on the genocide case since 2006. The one-night engagement takes place at the Balboa Theatre, one of the city’s last neighborhood moviehouses, which recently announced a financial and programming partnership with a local foundation. Let’s hope tonight’s event illustrates the Balboa’s future.
Thu., Feb. 16, 7:15 p.m., 2012

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