WATCH FROM HOME: Living At Risk

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LIVING AT RISK
Alfred Guzzetti, Susan Meiselas, Richard P. Rogers
color, 59 min, 1985

Also available on DSL and as part of an updated 2-DVD set, A Family in History.

Living at Risk: The Story of a Nicaraguan Family, made in 1984-85 at the height of the Contra war, brings us inside Sandinista Nicaragua five years after the revolution that overthrew the dictator Anastasio Somoza. It centers on five siblings of the privileged, well-connected Barrios family, all deeply committed to the revolution and working for it, often at considerable risk to themselves. The five brothers and sisters work with the revolutionary government in various professional capacities: medicine, community organizing, agricultural reform.

This valuable documentary provides a dimension lacking in other films about Nicaragua: a sense of the fabric of everyday life, of the ways in which perpetual danger and tension are incorporated into the ongoing vital routines of doing one’s job, raising one’s family, going to market, finding entertainment, treating the sick, feeding the hungry. Level-headed and deeply felt, Living At Risk conveys above all an impression of quiet, believable heroism, most vividly in a dramatic sequence of a doctor delivering a vaccine to a remote village where his predecessor was recently executed by the counter-revolutionaries.