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

VENICE FILMFEST 2012: AN AMERICAN GRAFFITI

by s,d Sunday, Sep. 09, 2012 at 1:17 PM

American films, largely absent in recent years, made a startling comeback to the 69th Venice Film Festival this month with a vivisection of an American society whose moral restraints have become as elastic as a worn rubber band, a malaise which, like American culture, has infected many parts of the world.

VENICE FILMFEST 2012: AN AMERICAN GRAFFITI



By Uli Schmetzer

Venice, September 8, 2012 – American films, largely absent in recent years, made a startling comeback to the 69th Venice Film Festival this month with a vivisection of an American society whose moral restraints have become as elastic as a worn rubber band, a malaise which, like American culture, has infected many parts of the world.

Film makers laid bare an America which has metamorphosed from a country of immigrants where anyone was welcome to a country whose citizen are inoculated with hatred for a minority of fellow citizen - Moslems and Arabs.

In this dark side of America the difference between right and wrong has become so foggy it is often lost. A once strong communal spirit has been replaced by egocentricity, megalomania, corruption, fraud, infidelity, religious cultism and ravenous corporate greed.

No film at the festival had more courage than Michael Singh’s much applauded documentary ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ during which well known academics and journalists accuse the U.S. media for demonizing Middle East societies and stereotyping Arabs and Moslems as terrorists. The metamorphosis of the ‘Heroic Arab’ of the 1920s to the ‘Evil Arab’ of today coupled with the paranoia about an aggressive Islam is being constantly stoked by the powerful Israel Lobby in the United States.

The documentary leaves no doubt the American-Israeli propaganda methods employed today against the people of the Middle East are not much subtler then the methods elaborated by Josef Goebbels who stereotyped Jews and turned them into monsters as a prelude to their extermination by the Nazis. The Arab, sitting atop the world’s vital oil reserves, has been converted into a ‘terrorist’ who must be dominated (read colonized) to ensure our own safety (read national security.) Arab oil resources must serve the universal good (read oil companies) and we must impose democracy on the Arab countries (but with a democracy subservient to us.)

After the screening film maker Singh admitted it is unlikely ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ will be screened in the United States. “They have already asked me to cut 39 per cent of its content. All I can do now is go to court,” he said.

What has happened to America’s much vaunted freedom of expression?

Reporting from the Middle East has always been one sided. By coincidence during the Venice film festival Italian State TV, like most western media, recalled the anniversary of the Munich Olympic Massacre when 11 Israeli athletes were killed during a botched Palestinian commando raid. Yet there has never been an anniversary commemoration for the Shatila refugee camp massacre where thousands of Palestinians were killed while Israeli troops looked on. In 1946 Yitzhak Shamir and Menchen Begin had wanted posters out for them as ‘terrorists’ who masterminded bomb attacks on civilians. Yet both men became celebrated Prime Ministers of Israel and Begin won a Nobel Peace Prize.

In Singh’s documentary historian Melani McAlister and Professor John Mearsheimer (who wrote the book ‘The Israel Lobby” which focused on the blatant lies and historic manipulations perpetuated by the zealots of the Zionist State) detail some of the more recent methods to vilify Arabs. They point out Arabs are always dark-skinned in caricatures and evil looking and portrayed as attacking foreigners when they actually defend their invaded countries. They ask how come the West Bank was referred in the past as The Occupied Territories but is now described in our mass media as ‘disputed territories?’ How come Jerusalem was ‘liberated’ when it was already the Palestinian capital? How come the Apartheid Wall Israel built has become a defense wall? How come we always see images of Israeli settlers as victims but never see Palestinians whose land they illegally occupy being kept under curfew or subjected to house searches by Israeli troops? How come a nation with six million of its people exterminated ow by the Nazis now talks about ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Palestinian lands?

“It’s the occupation that is causing terror its not terror that is causing the occupation,” comments film maker Jack Shaheen in the documentary while Mearsheimer argues Americans have never been told or showed any interest in the reasons for the attack on the Twin Towers. Occasional efforts to examine the motivations for the attack were quickly short-circuited. Yet the documentary reveals there were statements explaining the attack was in etaliation for American political support, arms supplies and financial aid to Israel.

The mass media is again under attack in Xavier Giannoli’s racy film ‘Superstar,’ the story of a simple worker turned into a superstar by a social network prank. The networks feature his photo until he turns up everywhere and is mobbed, pursued and persecuted by doting fans with no idea why he is famous.

Giannoli takes apart the talk shows and their egocentric hosts who use people like ping pong balls, then drop or squash them – or in this case turn the adulation of the Superstar to hatred. Any news is good news, as long as it is sensational.

If Valentino’s Ghost and Superstar are compulsory for those interested in the other side of the story the Festival’s opening film set the Festival’s tone.

Mira Nair’s riveting ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ could have been renamed: “I Love America….But….’ The pillar of the film is the much publicized theme that anti-terrorist phobia, persecution of suspects and stereotyping people only produces more terrorism. Nair constructs a ‘real’ case of a successful Pakistani working at the executive level of corporate America. He becomes a victim of mass hysteria following September 2001. He is humiliated, terrorized and made to feel an alien until he leaves the United States and gradually drifts into the arms of fundamentalism though he keeps telling everyone, especially the interrogating CIA agent: “I love America.’

The phrase ‘I love America’ could also be Nair’s personal motto. She dreads carefully (for which film critics lambasted her) on delicate issues, hinting rather then exposing the indignities suffered by ‘bearded’ men and detained terror suspects after the Twin Tower attack. Many film makers obviously do not want to foul their American market – and activate the Israel Lobby.

One of those cautious directors is Paul Thomas Anderson. His film‘The Master,’ which won him the silver lion for the best director) is an obvious exposure and a ridicule of Scientology and rampant cultism in the USA. (Anderson immediately denied at a media conference he had based his main character on Ron Hubbard, the father of Scientology). Though fraudulence and hocus-pocus, caged in woolly pseudo-science, are part of the Master’s tricks the more insalubrious details, like sexual liaisons, are touched with silk gloves. The peccadilloes are barely hinted, perhaps in deference to the sensitivity of a Hollywood dominated by converts to Scientology. In the year of Mitch Romney and his Mormons the point of the film is hardly lost. ‘The Master’ is embellished by the brilliant acting of Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman who jointly won the festival’s best actor awards.

Harmony Korine’s ‘Spring Breakers’ depicts another sector of a dysfunctional America. Four Barbie doll teenagers use their Spring school break to indulge in a rampage of violence, sex, drugs and the kind of unrestrained behavior now more and more associated with a young generation whose parents seem to have abdicated control – or pretend they don’t see.

During their wild spree the four keep telephoning their gullible parents, reporting an idyllic holiday. Korine said the idea of the film came to him after a news report about four girls on Spring Break holding up tourists with automatic guns to finance a holiday spree at expensive resorts.

There was no end to the flaws of the American society.

Ramin Bahrani’s ‘At Any Price’ is the story of a family in rural America (Iowa corn-belt) whose members come to terms with cheating, with murder and with infidelity under the national slogan that is also justifying wars: ‘We must be united. We are a team.’

The film is symbolic of a nation which forges ahead with unjustified interventions in the affairs of other countries while exhorting patriotism from its citizen.

It seems film makers believe America’s once strong legal and moral restraints are in shreds.

It could be argued ‘At Any Price’ tries to say what is good for the family is also good for America – and the next generation. And if someone has to die, it can be argued away as an unfortunate accident or a necessity. And if someone has to be cheated it was necessary to ensure economic growth and secure the family property - for the next generation. And if the father strays from mother’s bed he is forgiven for the sake of a coherent family and the preservation of their property.

In past cinematic history male career climbers killed and tortured each other. In Brian de Palma’s ‘Passion’ it is now women - two executive Eves in an American advertising agency in Berlin – who harness guile, cunning, charm and sex to control, dominate and steal ideas from each other. De Palma, a modern day Hitchcock, spices his story up with lesbianism, phallic aids and kinky sex encounters all coupled to America’s most common phrase: ‘I love you’ or: “Do you love me?’ All is videotaped on smart phones and used to blackmail or embarrass the other. Of course it ends in murder with an Inspector Derrick-type Berlin policeman way out of his depth.

Meanwhile Robert Redford’s long awaited ‘The Company You Keep’ is yet another concession to American family values. The protagonist (portrayed by Redford) is a former Weathermen ‘terrorist.’ He rolls up – or some would say betrays - his entire organization thirty years after they went underground and became often respected citizen. With the FBI hard on his heels he contacts them (which results in their arrest) in an effort to prove to his young daughter that he was not the man who killed a bank guard during a robbery thirty years ago. The fatal shooting at was committed by another member of his group who must confess.

The moral dilemma of this film is this: If you belong to an activist group which decides to resort to violence are you just as responsible as the person who pulls the trigger? The film seems to indicate you are not.

When the dust settles on the Venice Filmfest this year it will leave, as always, much controversy. This time the argument could be whether American society forgives and forgets its sins far too easily these days without proper reflection - or whether it simply expunges them with prayer.

Ends

Uli Schmetzer, a former foreign correspondent for Reuters and the Chicago Tribune is the author of four books all available in print or e-book on www.amazon.com

Report this post as:

Local News

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

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

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

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

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