Coup films rose to mainstream status by promoting the perspective of the oppressed “child,” who constructs a different history and a community than the one prescribed by the authoritarian state. Using the family as a conventional storehouse of metaphors, coup films depict nation-building as an unfixed, ongoing enterprise. There is a complicated interaction between the corpus of coup films and the environment in which they have been produced—that is, the rising value and media practices of the neo-liberal cultural landscape since 1980. In their rise to the mainstream, films experience material and logistical challenges (e.g. censorship, market economy, new technologies) from the authoritarian state, just as they mount conceptual challenges against it. Despite its limitations, mass culture can advance alternative public accounts of history.