The Modern Jungle is a portrait of globalization filtered through the fever dream of a Mexican shaman, don Juan, who falls under the spell of a pyramid-scheme-marketed nutritional supplement. Juan's neighbor Carmen lives simply, in harmony with the land her martyred husband paid for with his life. THE MODERN JUNGLE documents their struggles and encounters with outside forces: from capitalism and commodity fetish, to the culture of cinema, and the directors of this film.

For more information, see the long synopsis, director's statement, or presskit. Further resources include this introduction by the directors, published on MUBI Notebook, or this interview with director Charles Fairbanks from the Los Angeles Review of Books.

about the filmmakers

THE MODERN JUNGLE is made by Charles Fairbanks (USA) and Saul Kak (Mexico). Kak is an internationally acclaimed painter, poet, native speaker of Zoque and activist for his people. Fairbanks's short films have been awarded at Ann Arbor, Atlanta, and CPH:DOX, and have shown on POV and at Anthology Film Archives, Slamdance, Visions du Réel, and over 100 other festivals. For this project Fairbanks received support from the Guggenheim Foundation, MacDowell Colony, and the Wexner Art Center's Film/Video Studio Program.

For extended bios, see the presskit.

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71 minutes, Mexico / USA, 2016

Zoque & Spanish spoken,
with English & Spanish subtitles

camera & edit: Charles Fairbanks

sound & Zoque translation: Saul Kak

music: Hugo Paris (Lavender)
& Lorenzo Rodriguez Estrada

editing consultant: Jim Klein

sound mix: Paul Hill

select screenings: Visions du Réel (Switzerland), FICM (Mexico), GIFF (Mexico), Cinéma Vérité (Iran), FICSC (Mexico), WATCH DOCS (Poland), Slamdance (USA), Ann Arbor Film Festival (USA), Chicago Underground Film Festival (USA) Wexner Art Center USA Ambulante (Mexico), Ânûû-rû Âboro (New Caledonia) Art of the Real at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (USA)