The Storm that Swept Mexico

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The Storm that Swept Mexico is a vibrant new two-hour special that tells the epic story of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, the first major political and social revolution of the 20th century. Fueled by the Mexican people's growing dissatisfaction with an elitist ruling regime, the revolution produced two of the most intriguing and mythic figures in 20th century history — Emiliano Zapata and Francisco “Pancho” Villa. At stake was Mexico's ability to claim its own natural resources, establish long-term democracy, and re-define its identity. The legacy of the revolution included a new commitment to national education, as well as an explosion of indigenous arts, music, literature, and cinema.

Capturing the color, drama, intrigue, and tragedy of the era, The Storm that Swept Mexico also explores how the Mexican Revolution not only changed the course of Mexican history, transforming economic and political power within the nation, but also profoundly impacted the relationships between Mexico, the U.S. and the rest of the world.   Narrated by actor and playwright Luis Valdez, directed by Raymond Telles and written and produced by Raymond Telles and Archivist Kenn Rabin, The Storm that Swept Mexico airs on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 10 p.m. on Eight, Arizona PBS.

The Mexican Revolution was part of the first wave of worldwide political and social upheavals in the early part of the last century; nationalistic uprisings not only swept across Mexico, but also Russia, Iran, China and parts of the Third World.  The Storm that Swept Mexico explores the events that led to the revolution, influenced the course of the conflict, and determined its consequences. It also explores the role of memory and myth in shaping public perceptions about both the revolution and its legacy.

The Mexican Revolution was the first major revolution to be filmed. The Storm that Swept Mexico incorporates photographs and motion pictures from these earliest days of cinema, many of which have never before been seen outside of Mexico.

The Storm that Swept Mexico unfolds in two parts. The first hour, The Tiger is Unleashed , charts the struggle by Francisco I. Madero and his followers to end the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz , and traces the emergence of two remarkable rebel leaders: Emiliano Zapata and Francisco “Pancho” Villa . But the Revolution was not merely an internal affair; it was an international event profoundly influenced by U.S. and European foreign policy.

The second hour, The Legacy , examines international influence on the revolution, investigating the extraordinary German plan to seek Mexico's support against the United States should it enter World War I. The second hour also explores how the Mexican Revolution fostered cultural as well as political transformation. Beginning in the 1920s, and continuing through and beyond the 1940s, Mexican artists burst onto the international stage and Mexico City became the nexus of an indigenous and muralist art movement. Against this flourishing cultural backdrop, the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas in many ways fulfills the political promises of the revolution. But after Cárdenas's extraordinary administration, politics regress, and in 1968, shortly before Mexico City is to host the Olympics, a new type of revolution explodes.

The dramatic story of the revolution is told through interviews with a wide range of distinguished scholars from the disciplines of history, economics, literature, political science, women's studies, and art history, as well as several veterans of the Revolution who were each over 100 years old at the time of filming.   Ten years in the making, The Storm that Swept Mexico is the definitive exploration of one of the most fascinating eras in modern history.

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