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.
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.
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),