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Walker

Screening on Film
Directed by Alex Cox.
With Ed Harris, Richard Masur, Rene Auberjonois.
US/Mexico/Spain, 1987, 35mm, color, 94 min.

Made at a time when US involvement in Central America was a hot topic, Walker is probably Cox’s most overtly political film. It is a decidedly postmodern version of the true story of William Walker, the American adventurer and apostle of Manifest Destiny who led a failed revolution in Mexico, fled south with an army of mercenaries, and toppled the Nicaraguan government in 1855 with the support of US industrialists. The film was actually shot in Nicaragua in 1987 as the Sandinista government was still attempting to quell the American-funded Contra insurgency. At the time of Walker’s initial release, many critics seemed perplexed by Cox’s abundant and overt insertion of anachronistic objects that disrupt any sense of the film as a period piece. Seen today, these objects are a clever way of pointing out the parallels between Walker’s Nicaraguan exploits and those of the US government in the 1980s.

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