Hit documentary back on Mexico screens amid battle

AP News
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Posted: Mar 09, 2011 5:29 PM
Hit documentary back on Mexico screens amid battle

An acclaimed documentary that shines an unflattering light on Mexico's secretive legal system was back in the country's theaters Wednesday after an appeals court overturned a judge's order blocking screenings.

A day after the ruling, theater chain Cinepolis said it would resume showing the film immediately.

Cinepolis, which is also acting as distributor for the movie, said it was notifying other chains of its decision and they also would resume screenings.

"We invite the general public to see 'Presumed Guilty' starting at this moment," a company statement said.

"Presumed Guilty" _ or "Presunto Culpable" in its original Spanish _ won the audience award for best international feature at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival.

It centers on 26-year-old Antonio Zuniga, who was convicted of a 2005 murder on scant evidence. The process was documented by his lawyers, who filmed the hearings with the permission of the trial judge.

The film opened across Mexico on Feb. 18 and was the second-most viewed film in the country over the weekend.

However, it has been caught up in a legal battle after the chief prosecution witness _ Victor Manuel Reyes Bravo, a relative of the murder victim _ filed a complaint charging the movie violates his right to privacy.

A judge in Mexico City ordered authorities last week to halt showings pending hearings on the complaint, and Cinepolis pulled "Presumed Guilty" on Monday.

The following day a Mexico City appeals court ruled that suspending the film violated freedom of information guarantees.

Cinepolis also said in its statement that it would defend the film in court Friday.

"Cinepolis appreciates the result of the court's ruling and hopes that the (upcoming) hearing develops in a favorable way to maintain the showing of 'Presunto Culpable,'" the company said.