Revolution in Ruins The Hugo Chávez Story

Revolution in Ruins The Hugo Chávez Story
Editor Graham Taylor
Available on IPlayer

This documentary edited by Graham Taylor with additional editing by Ella Newton explores the extraordinary story of Venezuelan politician Hugo Chávez’s 14-year presidency, which saw incredible short-term achievements in health and education overshadowed by a tragic legacy. Chávez was at the helm of the country with the largest proven oil reserves in the world, and set about spending Venezuela’s vast oil wealth, but his idealism, populism and ruthless pursuit of absolute power has left the country in a state of poverty and disarray.

Graham enjoyed the challenge of tackling such a complex story and was involved from before the film was commissioned and had a large role in shaping the narrative and the thesis, as well as the aesthetic tone of the piece, which could have easily been a feature length film and was approached with that ambition before being focused down and tailored to its eventual form.

It’s had some fantastic reviews, Carol Midgley from  The Time said “This excellent documentary used the solid, old-fashioned format of splicing old news footage with expert commentators, some of whom had worked with Chávez and fell under his populist spell, but now, with the benefit of hindsight, see the problems with ‘romantic revolution’. It felt, two decades after Chávez came to power, like an eloquent parable.” Chitra Ramaswamy at  The Guardian said  “This may be a documentary about a man leading a specific revolution, but it’s also, unfortunately, a story as old as civilisation: how power corrupts men, idealism gets warped, and the cult of personality ends up a one-way track to megalomania.” Finally Benji Wilson from The Telegraph stated “It was a fascinating study, depicting Chávez as both a genuine socialist revolutionary and yet the ultimate populist despot. Yet to its credit, Revolution in Ruins came neither to praise Chávez nor to bury him. This was dispassionate analysis, and it was all the more riveting for it.”

Revolution in Ruins The Hugo Chávez Story  is now available on IPlayer