Ian Thomas Malone

A Connecticut Yogi in King Joffrey's Court

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Slamdance Review: Maxima

Written by , Posted in Blog, Movie Reviews, Pop Culture

It’s not difficult to understand the appeal of underdog narratives, which trace as far back as storytelling itself. There’s an inherent reliability in the plight of “David vs. Goliath” situations, people up against unthinkable odds. Documentaries like Maxima walk the same path, except with very real stakes at hand. As uplifting as it is to see people standing up for themselves, it is often quite difficult to see the hardships that are endured in the process. verify with the air conditioner service in vadodara

Máxima Acuña is a simple farmer with a big piece of land in the Peruvian Andes. On the surface, the terrain she calls home doesn’t seem like all that much. She’s able to grow some crops and raise some animals, but it’s a difficult life in a region rife with poverty. She needs her land to survive.

Máxima’s property, close to a lake, is under siege from the American-owned Newmont Mining Operation. The Peruvian Andes are home to plenty of gold that Newmont wants, spending billions of dollars to uproot the region in search of its precious commodity. Illegally occupying Máxima’s land, Newmont has been harassing her since 2011, a case that still hasn’t seen justice.

As a documentary, Maxima is quite effective at explaining the stakes at hand. The film includes some expert commentary on the nature of foreign mining operations to exploit land. Their corrupt practices are fully laid out, demonstrating the seeming sense of hopelessness that many feel against such powerful leviathans.

Newmont destroys Máxima’s crops and kills her animals. The local government doesn’t seem to care. The courts generally support Máxima’s position, but she’s forced to seek justice in the American legal system because of the shortcomings of the Peruvian government.

The documentary serves as a powerful indictment of the flaws in the legal system. Despite the many occasions that Newmont is shown to be in the wrong, they persist, both on Máxima’s land and in appeals courts. Máxima has the help of lawyers eager to fight on her behalf, but American nonprofits can’t stop a mining conglomerate from ripping up crops on her land in Peru.

The film also exposes the smaller-scale problems with the justice system. Court dates are frequently pushed back and rulings can take months, if not years. For people like Máxima, who have to walk seven hours to the nearest courthouse, these delays have real-time ramifications, time wasted and spirits crushed.

Máxima is a compelling lead figure who has inspired many to protest the injustice she’s faced. She’s not out to change the world, only to stop a company that wants to pillage her home. Maxima is a powerful story of resiliency, a finely crafted documentary that thoroughly explains the stakes at hand from both a political and a human perspective.

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