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CineFestival Opening Night: Dolores

Peter Bratt’s first doc (after narrative features Follow Me Home and La Mission) attempts to set the record straight about UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta (still active at age 86), the beloved and controversial labor leader and civil rights activist often overshadowed by César Chávez’s accomplishments and the UFW’s own sexism after Chávez’s passing. The film (executive produced by Carlos Santana) recently premiered at Sundance, where it earned a standing ovation. By all accounts, it’s a powerful film and not a simple hagiography. Progressives were understandably upset with Huerta’s decision to support Hillary Clinton instead of Bernie Sanders in last year’s elections, and actress Rosario Dawson (who portrayed Huerta in 2014’s César Chávez, directed by Diego Luna) called her out for it. Huerta replied that she thought Hillary would be better for Latinos and, “when the dust settles … we’re going to be together.” Although the dust hasn’t exactly settled, anyone who keeps on fighting at age 86 — after almost losing her life to police brutality at age 58 — deserves a long line of credit among true progressives. This is the film to watch at this year’s CineFestival.

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