imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

2004: Year of the Documentary (& Hopefully, Political Reform)

by Rmcz3k Friday, Jul. 09, 2004 at 9:45 AM

(mini reviews of "The Corporation" "Control Room" "Orwell Rolls in His Grave" and "Uncovered")



Perhaps because of tumultous events of recent history, ever-increasing speed of information technology, corporatization of mass media, or a combination of these and other factors, 2004 is a historic year for documentary filmmaking by any standard.

As a first shot across the bow, Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me created a buzz at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Though not heavily publicized, the film accumulated numerous rave reviews leading to so much positive word of mouth it went on to become the fourth largest grossing documentary film of all time. However, it may have also been boosted by free publicity through news stories about McDonald's phasing out its "supersize" option in March and introducing "Go Active" adult Happy Meals in April (just prior to the nationwide release of Super Size Me in May) all the while declaring the decisions had nothing to do with Spurlock's film.

Even before its release, http://www.fahrenheit911.com/">Fahrenheit 9/11 (and Michael Moore) became the center of controversy in newsrooms and chatrooms across the country. Perhaps reflecting the polarization of the current American political climate, people debated and argued about merits and flaws of Moore and his film, whether Disney was practicing censorship for refusing to distribute it, if the MPAA's R rating was given for political reasons, or if Moore was exploiting such controversies for personal gain. As is common for corporations to do when covering their behinds, anonymous individuals even hired a PR firm to create a pseudo-grassroots organization in an attempt to discourage people from seeing the film.

Demonstrating how this type of strategy can backfire spectacularly, Fahrenheit 9/11 became the highest grossing documentary of all time on its opening weekend alone, and had the second largest per theater average for a film that opened in wide-release. Also surprisingly, it received generally (or grudgingly) positive reviews even among corporate media outlets slammed in the film.

One of F9/11's strengths and weaknesses was the vast range of information it presented. Even at two and a half hours, although a commendable effort, there's no way any film could have said all that needed to be said about corporate/military control of news content, the election theft of 2000, oddities surrounding the official 9/11 story, hidden agendas behind the Patriot Act and the war on terror, and the many reasons why the invasion of Iraq was a huge mistake. Fortunately for those hungry for more information on some of the topics touched on in Moore's film, a number of other great relevant films released this year can help fill in the gaps.

Prior to the release of F9/11, the record for highest grossing documentary film in Canada had recently been broken by The Corporation. Directed by Jennifer Abbot and Mark Achbar, the film is not a one-sided attack on corporations, but a fascinating overview of what a corporation is, the origins of the corporation, the many problems caused by corporations on a local and global scale, and ways the corporate model might be changed for the better. Featured throughout the film are illuminating interviews with Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore and Ray Anderson (CEO of a billion dollar company who displays remarkable candor acknowledging his past mistakes his epiphany that gave him the determination to correct them). Despite the mind-blowingly awful corporate crimes it reveals, the film doesn't lose sight of contradictions and ironies of the system (throwing in jokes about itself being a corporation). As co-director Jennifer Abbot said, "There are some big problems here. It's not your fault though you might be implicated. You know it. We know it. What are we going to do about it?"

http://www.noujaimfilms.com/">Control Room is the newest film from Egyptian-American director Jehune Noujaim (who previously co-directed Startup.com) and was released in May near the same time The Corporation opened in America. It's a revealing behind-the-scenes look at Al-Jazeera and CENTCOM (Central Command), the strategic and media PR center of American military operations in Iraq. Though the film contains fascinating footage of the Al-Jazeera news rooms during crucial moments of the war such as the initial bombings and the takeover of Baghdad, at it's heart are three central characters who befriended the filmmakers during the film shoot. Hassan Ibrahim (Al-Jazeera journalist), Samir Khadir (Al-Jazeera producer) and Capt. Josh Rushing (U.S. Press Officer for CENTCOM). Though this film, like Al-Jazeera, has been criticized for its lack of objectivity, one of the central themes of the film is that total objectivity in news is an illusion. What western media can learn from Al-Jazeera and this film is the importance of giving a voice to a number of different points of view,

Robert Kane Pappas' Orwell Rolls In His Grave was twenty years in the making but it couldn't have been released at a more approprate time in American history. Similar to how Moore's film alluded to Ray Bradbury's cautionary tale, Pappas' film draws frightening comparisons between America today and George Orwell's prophetic novel "1984". In fine detail, the film examines corporate domination of modern American politics and global mass media. As two major examples, the documentary revisits the 1980 and 2000 U.S. presidential races, revealing damning evidence of big media collusion with Republican dirty tricksters leading to the election of Reagan and Bush, subsequent legislation leading to further deregulation, increased profits for big media and other corporations...and the cycle of corruption continues to this day. Along with many eerily topical quotes from Orwell, the film is punctuated with informative and revelatory interviews with Rep. Bernie Sanders, Charles Lewis (director of the Center for Public Integrity), media scholars and authors Robert McChesney and Mark Crispin Miller, former member of British Parliament Tony Benn, investigative journalist Greg Palast and (once again) Michael Moore. While Orwell Rolls In His Grave is an important reminder that 1984 is no longer a date in the future, presenting much information that is frightening and depressing, in an odd way it also leaves one inspired and uplifted because a film such as this can still be made and seen (at least for the few able to catch it at film festivals or have seen it on video). Being informed of the nature of current problems can be upsetting, but is also essential to prevent a further descent to a completely "Orwellian" situation.

Though actually completed in 2003, I'm including this title because it had not been widely screened or available on DVD until 2004. Shortly after the release of the excellent documentary about the 2000 election, Unprecedented, producer Robert Greenwald quickly went on to produce and direct a film about the invasion of Iraq. The finished product, Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War is a particularly powerful anti-war document because of it's sense of immediacy and numerous interviews with ex-government officials. Among the many speaking out against the war are former ambassador Joe Wilson, former weapons inspectors Scott Ritter and David Albright, former Director of the CIA Stansfield Turner and former CIA operatives Robert Baer and Milt Bearden, among many others. If even ex-CIA agents are against the war, you know it's really bad. Greenwald is reportedly now working on Unconstitutional (about post 9/11 attacks on civil liberties) which is scheduled for a late 2004 release.

Liberty Bound and Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire are two more films that just recently came out. I have not had a chance to see either of them yet, but judging from their respective websites, both sound like they have much to offer for those who love independant documentaries and/or those seeking the truth. There's a famous quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson, "An informed citizenry is the bulwark of a democracy". With the help of many independant filmmakers, journalists, activists and others, in 2004 we all have a much needed opportunity to reinforce the bulwark.



Report this post as:

Local News

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Sorry President Trump,Ted Cruz Texas Judicial System,is Worse Than Many Shithole Countries J19 4:49PM

The Shortwave Report 07/20/18 Listen Globally! J19 4:33PM

3 Essential Videos J19 3:53AM

The System Question as a Survival Question J18 8:54PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen J18 2:41PM

Nation's Largest Voting Machine Co., ESS, Admits Lying Re Having Installed Remote Control J18 11:55AM

Du pain et des jeux J18 9:53AM

Fbi joins with Facebook to remove this report J18 7:08AM

Paraphysique de martyrologie J17 8:00AM

Asian Countries:Cambodia, Vietnam, N. Korea do not permit unlawful immigration J16 8:06PM

Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator J16 11:24AM

Democratic Socialists of America J14 4:57PM

Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's J14 4:18PM

Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento J14 12:54AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Cleanup J13 4:14PM

FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution? J13 3:52PM

Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians J13 2:59PM

The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally! J12 4:36PM

Social Policy as Social Infrastructure J12 3:38AM

Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud J12 1:50AM

Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner.. J11 6:48PM

June 2018 Honduras coup update J11 3:35PM

Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support J11 1:40PM

New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients J11 10:14AM

Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation J11 1:31AM

Please Work For The Defeat Of Brett Kavanaugh And Why J09 8:54PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

Transinhumanisme ( transe inhumanisme ) J09 12:44PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy