Fire From the Mountain

Director: Deborah Shaffer

Institute History

  • 1988 Sundance Film Festival


From the Academy Award-winning director Deborah Shaffer, Fire From the Mountain, based on the autobiographical novel by Omar Cabezas, may be the first film to achieve the status of an oral history of the Nicaraguan revolution. As such, Fire From the Mountain is a partisan and stirring documentary, integrating rich archival material with contemporary footage and interviews to trace Cabezas’ extraordinary journey from student activist to querilla fighter, to victorious revolutionary.

Particularly riveting is Cabezas’ impassioned, poetic and sometimes amusing accounts of guerrilla life and training. In one instance, he tells of giving up his university studies and trekking deep into the mountains expecting to find an army of revolutionaries, but instead discovers twenty tired men. “Son of a bitch”, you say to yourself . . .”My God, I made the worst mistake of my life!” And, in July, 1979, when the Sandinistas entered Managua’s main square, victorious to the cheers of thousands, one befuddled revolutionary asks him, Well, now what do we do?” Fire From the Mountain captures the recent history of Nicaragua with passion and conviction; its people, too, emerge with indomitable spirit.

— Tony Safford

Screening Details

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