directed by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos
by Walter Chaw My favourite part of Anabel Rodríguez Ríos's pretty documentary Once Upon a Time in Venezuela isn't the mad woman who has a shrine to Hugo Chavez and forces people to touch a giant, door-sized poster of him before entering her room, nor is it the two old men who cry while talking about the way things used to be in their little floating/stilts-bound town of Congo Mirador before playing pointed tunes on an old rat-box guitar. No, my favourite part of Once Upon a Time in Venezuela is how it's loosely structured around a doomed election that has no real bearing on this tiny place's inevitable disintegration. There's a lot to pull from this idea that the works of Man are but a speck of dust and all that--a mote in God's design, right? Some of the locals, especially one garish busybody, are also displeased with the quality of education their children are receiving while the world falls apart around them. It's fun to watch people without a future try to plan for the future. And then you realize the film is talking about us.