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Sometimes a film makes history; it doesn't just document it. So it is with "Granito: How to Nail a D...ictator", the astonishing new film by Pamela Yates. Part political thriller, part memoir, Yates transports us back in time through a riveting, haunting tale of genocide and returns to the present with a cast of characters joined by destiny and the quest to bring a malevolent dictator to justice.
In 1982 Yates risked her life making the documentary "When the Mountains Tremble" in Guatemala, in order to bring the hidden story of the massacre of the Mayan people to the attention of the world. She filmed combat missions with both guerrillas and the army, and survived a troop transport helicopter crash to tell the tale. The film didn't stop the killings, but destiny gave Yates another chance. Her old film and its 16mm out-takes may be the only footage of the Guatemalan genocide, so lawyers building the case against former dictator General Ríos Montt recently asked Yates for her footage as evidence to help convict him.
Now, as if a watchful Maya god were weaving back together threads of a story unraveled by the passage of time, forgotten by most, our characters become integral to the overarching narrative of wrongs done and justice sought that they have pieced together, each adding their granito, their tiny grain of sand, to the epic tale.