Price: $350.00

    Code: 2567

    Directed by Charles Fairbanks and Saul Kak
    2017, 71 minutes
    Purchase $350 | Classroom rental: $125

    The Modern Jungle is a portrait of globalization filtered through Carmen and Juan, two Zoque people, and how modernity has affected their identity and relation to the indigenous culture. This film documents their struggles and encounters with outside forces: from capitalism and commodity fetish, to the culture of cinema, and the directors of this film.

    Juan is a Mexican shaman who suffers from a hernia that his incantations cannot treat, and falls under the spell of charlatans who sell him nutritional supplements as medicine. His neighbor, Carmen, lives simply in harmony with the land her martyred husband paid for with his life. Originally set out to make an honest documentary of Zoque culture, directors Charles Fairbanks and Saul Kak fall into a tough position when both Carmen and Juan ask them for money because they are “working” for the film. By hiding nothing of this partly venal relationship, the directors challenge the Western-centered ethnology and cinematic myth of a “pure” native untouched by outside forces.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    World Premiere - Visions du Réel
    Jury Award, Feature Documentary Competition Slamdance
    Official Selection WATCH:DOCS – Human Rights in Film
    Official Selection Festival Cinéma Vérité
    Official Selection Ann Arbor Film Festival
    Official Selection Atlanta Film Festival


    "A fascinating and self-aware examination of both cinematic and economic exploitation."
    - Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer To Nail

    "A distillation of the modern documentary’s interest in blurring the line between not only fact and fiction but truth and performance."
    - Joshua Brunsting, Criterion Cast

    Further Reading

    Director Charles Fairbanks on The Modern Jungle's agenda. [PDF]