Maxima Image


By Anthony Ray Bench | January 26, 2020

SLAMDANCE 2020 FILM REVIEW! Máxima Acuña is the owner of a beautiful stretch of land that a big-time gold mining company is trying to take from her by force and dirty intimidation tactics. With the help and support of her family, her fellow Peruvian people, and her stalwart lawyer, Mirtha Vasquez, Máxima fights for nature, for self-preservation, and for the fellow downtrodden that are being poisoned and exiled by the mining corporation monsters.

A successful documentary has to be captivating, educational, and entertaining, and Maxima checks off every single one of those. It’s emotionally wrenching, inspirational, and it will almost certainly outrage anyone with half a heart. It also just happens to be one of the most beautifully shot documentaries in recent years.

The film allows its audience to get to know Máxima by showing intimate moments and her daily routines. We see how she acts with her family and how much she loves and respects nature. You get a really strong sense of who she is, a caring, strong, and very passionate individual willing to stand up for what she knows is right. The Newmont Mining Corporation, a massive gold mining company with majority ownership in the world’s second-largest gold mine, Yanacocha, would make for a great villain and plot foil if it wasn’t for the fact that they actually exist and are cartoonishly reprehensible in real life.

“Máxima fights for nature, for self-preservation, and for the fellow downtrodden…”

The things that Maxima goes through, as shown through amateur footage and witness retellings is enough to crack just about anybody, but Máxima continues to fight with grace and moral superiority. You really do end up wanting the best for her. Sadly, we’re not given a satisfying resolution, as the film ends with a call to arms telling the audience that the torment and intimidations are still ongoing for Máxima and her loved ones.

The scenic pastures and beautiful green hills left me breathless. Juxtaposing the peaceful beauty is the ugliness left behind by the dried-up mine of Yanacocha. It’s fascinating and scary to see what this mining process does to a lush and vibrant land. Máxima’s crusade against this corporate juggernaut is compelling to watch. The film doesn’t preach so much as it aims to educate. The film shows just how greedy and savage people can be in the pursuit of gold and other valuable minerals. It’s absolutely astounding how far The Newmont Mining Corporation and their subsidiary cronies are willing to go to evict Máxima and anyone else who stands in their way.

Maxima serves its subject well and tells her story with facts and footage to back up her statements. It’s a really awful predicament for anybody to find themselves in, but where most would cave and maybe settle for new land and money, Máxima became a symbol of the oppressed. I think this is a film that deserves to be seen and a cause that deserves to be looked into by those who want to preserve nature and personal freedoms.

Maxima screened at the Slamdance 2020 Film Festival.


Maxima (2020)

Directed: Claudia Sparrow


Starring: Máxima Acuña, Mirtha Vasquez, Keith Slack, Ricardo Giesecke, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Maxima Image

"…emotionally wrenching, inspirational, and it will almost certainly outrage anyone with half a heart."

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