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Documentaries and Other Movies
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Documentaries and Movies I watched while making Consumption 11-12

Akeelah and the Bee, starring Lawrence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, Keke Palmer, 2006
The story of an 11 year old girl growing up in a poor section of LA, who is very good at spelling. After some gentle prodding, she enters a spelling bee, wins, and soon is on her way to the nationals after finally convincing her mother to let her try, and enlists the whole neighborhood to help her learn words.
Bird, directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Forest Whitaker as Charlie Parker, 1988
Clint Eastwoods directed this movie which dramatizes the life of jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker, aka Bird. Shows his dramatic rise as a musician, and terrible destruction through drugs.
Born Into Brothels, Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski,, 2004
In the red light district of Calcutta, photojournalist Briski lived among the children of prostitutes, teaching them photography. Each of her group of kids took pictures of their lives in and around a cramped, run down tenement. Briski searched long and hard for a school to take in the kids. In India, it is next to impossible to find schooling for children of convicted criminals, and children of pushers, pimps, and prostitutes are largely ignored. She succeeds in finding school for some of them. Even then, some of the parents objected to their children going away to get an education on the flimsiest of grounds. Very interesting.
Bush Family Fortunes: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Greg Palast, music by Moby, The Disinformation Studio, 2004, 1hr
See this documentary if you want to know more about and see footage about how the Republicans stole the election in 2000, and the rise of the Bush family. Goes over the various business failures of W. Bush, each time bailed out by his family or their friends, such as the nation of Bahrain, to get a nice offshore drilling operation going for Harken Energy in 1990, with Bush on the board, also how George W got of going to vietnam by pretending to be in the National Guard. All of these things arc dealt with in much more detail in the book Armed Madhouse (see below).
Downfall, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel,, 2004
This is a reenactment of Hitler and crew during the final days of Hitler's Germany down in his bunker based a lot on the writing of Hitler's former secretary Traudl Junge. Witness the Nazi crusade crumble, and Hitler trying to take down all of Germany with him.
The End of Suburbia, directed by Gregory Greene,, 2004
What will happen when oil is scarce? The suburbs grew around the ability of cars to transport people from their homes to their jobs far away. SUVs will fairly soon be little more than rusting, oversized lawn ornaments, except that the lawns will be dried up. Suburbs are likely to become ghosttowns or ghettos, because it will be much too difficult to transport in all the necessary food and supplies to allow people to live there. This movie examines these issues of rampant consumer culture, its history and potential sudden demise.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, directed by Alex Gibney, 2005
This is the documentary based on the book The Smartest Boys in the Room (see page 36). The book of course has more information, but nothing beats seeing actual footage of the perpetrators and the investigators.
Hotel Rwanda, 2004, Directed by Terry George,
Starring Don Cheadle as Paul Rusesabagina, a Rwandan manager of a 5 star hotel, who managed to save many Tutsis from being slaughtered by Hutu murderers who were whipped into a frenzy by the radio in the 1995 genocide in Rwanda in which something like 1000000 Tutsis and friends thereof were murdered with machetes by Hutu extremists over the course of three months. The UN, especially the UN Security Council countries, such as the United States, did hardly anything to stop the killing. One of the characters, a UN commander, is based on canadian Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire, who wrote a book in 2003 about his time there called Shake Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.
The Ghosts of Rwanda, BBC and frontline, directed by Greg Barker, 2004
This is an extremely engrossing 2 hour documentary about the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. It has interviews with UN commander Romeo Dellaire (who wrote an autbiography called Shake Hands With The Devil, and who was portrayed by Nick Nolte in the movie Hotel Rwanda), Red Cross workers, diplomats, Paul Kagame (current president of Rwanda, who possibly was involved in assassinating the former President of Rwanda which directly preceded the genocide), and even one of the murderers. About 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis, were killed in the genocide. The movie does not mention the 30000 to 100000 hutus killed after the end of the genocide by the mostly tutsi Rwandan People's Front (RPF) after they succeeded in taking control in Rwanda from the Hutu extremists. George Bush has a famous quote regarding genocide that it won't happen on his watch. For more about that, see the little review below about the movie Invisible Children.
Goodnight and Good Luck, starring David Strathairn, George Clooney (also directed), 2005
A docudrama about Edward R. Murrow, first famous as a CBS war correspondent during World War II, and later for slamming McCarthy for his red baiting witchhunt, largely using McCarthy's own words. One great highlight is a speech Murrow gave to the Radio and Television News Directors Association in 1958, where he condemned tv news for its commercialism, its appeasing of advertisers often in lieu of providing real news.
Gunner Palace,, by Michael Tucker, 2004
Up close with the troops in Uday Husseins pleasure palace. This is a good look at the life of the american soldiers in Iraq that used the bombed palace as their base of operations for a year. The soldiers tell their own stories their own way, Most of the music was made by the soldiers themselves. If all news was like this, there would be a lot less war.
Invisible Children, by Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey, and Laren Poole,, 2003
This is a documentary made by 3 college students who traveled to northern Uganda to make a movie about whatever they found there. They found thousands of childern that are frequently kidnapped and turned into vicious child soldiers, and killed if they fail. Every night, thousands of children leave their homes and walk miles to take refuge whereever they can to avoid being press ganged by the murderous Lord's Resistance Army, a fundamentalist christian army led by Joseph Kony, who claims to be a spirit medium. The filmmakers have started their own non profit called Invisible Children Inc., that provides help to former child soldiers, and others displaced by the turmoil there. On April 29, 2006, they organized events in cities around the world, in which people walked to a central area, and camped the night, in a show of support for the night walkers, Something like 70000 people participated.
Lost Boys of Sudan,, Megan Mylan and Jon Shenk
Follows a couple of boys from Sudan, who had been driven out of their homes and orphaned from the Darfur region of Sudan. They lived in refugee camps, and then immigrated to the US. This movie provides a glimpse into the world of African immigrants to America. It is quite a transition to go from escaping murderers in rural Africa to stacking shopping carts in suburbia.
Sir! No Sir!, directed by David Zeiger, 2005
A very interesting documentary about the resistance and underground press within the military during the Vietnam War (or the American War, as the Vietnamese say). Very interesting is the apparent rewriting of history about how people at home recevied the returning troops. For more on that, see the book review for Spitting Image. On the website, you can see some of the many underground papers, that have many very good cartoons in them. Next time your crazy conservative friends make some crack about Jane Fonda, send them to see this movie. Of course, they'll just pass it off as liberal propaganda, but it's worth a try.
Spellbound, directed by Jeff Blitz, 2002,
Speaking of Akeelah and the Bee (which is fiction), might as well mention this movie, a documentary about 8 kids who make it to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 1999.
Stolen Childhoods, directed by Len Morris, narrated by Meryl Streep,, 2005
From the website:"A December 9, 2004 report from the United Nations Children's Fund says that more than 1 billion children - half of all the children in the world - are denied a healthy and protected upbringing." This doeumentary shows the lives of some of those children, the 246 million children living in conditions of constant work all over the world. From picking coffee in Kenya to tobacco in Mexico, rug weaving in India. Even immigrant farmworkers in Texas have their place here. In that area of Texas, there was a program of paying the children to go to school, so they would not have to work for cheap in the pesticide laden fields to help their families eat. This program was shut down due to budget cuts imposed by Bush.
Syriana, directed by Stephen Gaghan, starring George Clooney, 2005
Director of the guy who wrote the screenplay for Soderberg's Traffic. In some ways, this is kind of a movie version of the book Confessions of an Economic Hitman. The writers say it is loosely based on former CIA agent Robert Baer's book See No Evil : the true story of a ground soldier in the CIA's war on terrorism, (which I have not read). Watch as the CIA agent gets gyped by the economic overlords playing their games of world domination, and econmic hit men maneuver money into the wrong hands when they can, or step out of the line of fire when the monied don't pay up.
V For Vendetta, based on a story by Alan Moore
Moore, who also wrote The Watchmen, had his name taken off the movie because he felt the Wachowski Brothers (think Matrix) had turned away from the real issue of the story, which was the contrast between anarchy and fascism. "Those words, 'fascism' and 'anarchy,' occur nowhere in the film. It's been turned into a Bush-era parable by people too timid to set a political satire in their own country," (interview on mtv april 2006) The story in the movie is basically a pack of neocons faking terror incidents in order to secure their power, and the hero who makes everything right by killing a bunch of people and blowing things up. There are a few wrinkles such as some cops wrestling with how on earth to do the right thing under the thumb of the crooks in charge, and V's sidekick, who is probably most wanted number2, who somehow manages to survive in a very surveillance heavy society for an entire year without getting caught. She does provide a kind of civilian moral counter to V's martial tactics, which isn't seen very often when superheros are around.
Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, directed by Judy Irving, 2005
Certainly the gentlest movie on this list, this documentary tells about a flock of wild parrots in San Fransisco that Mark Bittner had the opportunity to observe for several years. I will watch this before a Bush speech any day.

Documentaries and Movies I watched while making Consumption 1-9

4 Little Girls, directed by Spike Lee, 1998
About 1960's Montgomery, Alabama, specifically a KKK bombing of a black church there in which 4 young girls were killed. Very good.
1968: America is Hard to See, 1970, directed by Emile de Antonio, reproduced in 1988 with additional commentary by de Antonio, 101 minutes
A slice of life from the late 1960s
10000 Black Men Named George, directed by Robert Townsend, Paramount/Showtime, 2001
This movie is a dramatization of the first really successful black union drive of railroad porters at the Pullman company during the early 1900s. The porters were paid shoddy wages, worked too hard, and humiliated by the passengers. It was company policy for every black porter to be called George, after George Pullman, the first to employ emancipated slaves. Like many a union, its organizing drive had to resist violence, smear campaigns, firings, scabs, and spies in order to make the workers lives better.
All Power to the People, written and directed by Lee Lew-Lee, 1996
About the Black Panthers and FBI harassment.
Amen, staring Ulrich Tukur, directed by Constantin Costa-Gavras, 2003
A terrifying look at Nazi Germany, about SS Lieutenant Kurt Gerstein who developed techniques to purify water, and was given a promotion to help streamline the death camp chemicals. He tried to alert various governments and the Vatican, but no on e was particularly interested in acting on that information. Based on Rolf Hochhuth's 1963 play The Representative, which was based on Gerstein's true story. See for a brief biography of Gerstein, and some references.
And Starring Poncho Villa as Himself, directed by Bruce Beresford, starring Anotonio Banderas, HBOVideo2003
From the director of Breaker Morant, this follows the making of a wartime movie bolstering the image of rebel leader Poncho Villa against the ruling aristocracy of Mexico in the early 1900s, which was one of the earliest uses of movies to try to sway public opinion. Nowadays, it would probably be a video news release produced by a multimillion dollar PR firm that no one's heard of other than corporate executives.
Ararat, directed by Atom Egoyan, 2002
From Egoyan, director of such films as The Adjuster, and Felicia's Journey. Follows the making of a film about the Turkish genocide of the Armenian people in 1915 in which several hundred thousand Armenians were killed, which the Turkish government to this day denies having happened.
The Atomic Cafe, The Archives Project, produced and directed by Kevin Rafferty, Jayne Loader, and Pierce Rafferty, 1982, 85 minutes
Full of footage of nuclear bombs and hysteria, even with footage of the natives of Bikini Atoll. Good documentary, and what is most surprising is that Rafferty is apparently a cousin of George W. Bush! And he taught documentary making to the young Michael Moore!
Battle for Algiers, directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, 1965
Chronicles the turmoil in Algeria during 1954-62, which led to the expulsion of the French. After 100 years of colonial exploitation, rebels emerge and enact a program of attacks on French police, and terrorist bombing of French cafes and sports events. Elite French paratroopers are called in to keep the peace, which they do with their own bombings, and most forms of torture to extract information, The soldier in charge justifies that by stating that the real question is whether France must be in Algeria, and if the answer is yes, then France must accept the consequences. Apparently the Pentagon had a showing of it in 2003 for its employees announced in part this way: "... The French have a plan. It succeeds tactically, but fails strategically. To understand why, come to a rare showing of this film."
Black Sunday, directed by John Frankenheimer, 1976
Centers on a Palestinian and an american who team up to blow up the Super Bowl by flying a blimp over it and blowing up. The Palestine-Isreal turmoil as briefly portrayed here is just about the same today, except perhaps that the Palestinians are more desperate and crushed now.
Bloody Sunday, written and directed by Paul Greengrass, 2001
Dramatized account ot Bloody Sunday in Derry, Northern Ireland on Sunday, January 30th, 1971 when the British forces open fire on a march killing 13 and wounding another 14, one of which died soon after. Shows very clearly the difficulties organizing for peace while surrounded by guns, and I don't mean Al-Qaeda. You might look up or for more info.
Brazil, directed by Terry Gilliam, 1985
One the the best, darkest, twisted movies of all time. Watch a faschist state clamp down on terrorists, and the fantasy life of a bureaucrat. Required viewing.
Breaker Morant, starring Edward Woodward, directed by Bruce Beresford, 1979
Based on a true story about 3 Australian soldiers fighting for the British in the Boer war in South Africa around the end of the 19th century, who ere court marshalled and two were put to death for conducting war as the empire wanted. Crisp dialogue, Required viewing for anyone looking to be a commando.
Burn, staring Marlon Brando, written by Franco Solinas and Giorgio Arlorio, directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, Cinecitta Rome, 1969
Quite and excellent move taking place in the Antilles in the mid 1800s. Brando plays a CIA/PR type of man working for the British to properly subjugate the Antilles for the benefit of Civilization and the British Economy. Highly recommended.
The Burning Season - the Chico Mendes Story, directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Raul Julia, 1994
Dramatized non-fiction about Mendes, who was a Brazilian rubber tapper in the jungle who became a very effective non-violent organizer against the destruction of the amazon which was destroying the livelihoods of many families of his community.
The China Syndrome, starring Jack Lemmon, Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, directed by James Bridges, Columbia Pictures, 1979, 123min
With Lemmon as a nuclear plant manager, Jane Fonda as a tv reporter, and Douglas as a radical cameraman for Fonda, this movie was released just 12 days before the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island on March 28, 1979. Fonda and Douglas serendipitously capture a nearly catastrophic accident at a nuclear plant while filming footage for a generic see-what-great-power-nukes-provide special. Neither the TV executives nor the nuclear plant execs want any word of the accident out in the public eye, espcially as hearings about the approval of a new nuclear plant were just days away. Lemmon finally takes matters into his own hands when no one heeds his warnings of the terrible imminent danger. Speaking of execs versus engineers, any one remember the Space Shuttle blowing up?
Chronicle of a Disappearance, directed by Elia Suleiman, Dhat Productions, 1996
Divine Intervention, 2003
Two Suleiman movies proving that humanity exists in Palestine. In 1991, he also co-made An Introduction to the End of an Argument, which is a kind of video montage of western stereotypes of Arabs.
Control Room, directed by Jehane Noujaim, 2004
A very interesting movie from the director of following the trials and tribulations of al-Jazeera reporters covering the war in Iraq. These al-Jazeera reporters left Iraq after US planes bombed two buildings killing reporters from al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya. Has many interviews with various al-Jazeera reporters, US military representatives, and people from other news outlets.
The Crusades, from Terry Jones, a Monty Python refugee, BBC in association with A&E, 1995
Terry Jones presents this 4 part documentary about the various European crusades which ransacked the Middle East in the name of God between about 1100 and 1300. Many of the people and events then are still discussed today, such as Jihad and Saladin, who in the late 1100s led a mostly successful revolt against the occupying crusaders. More visually elaborate than most historical documentaries.
Dark Days, directed by Mark Singer 2000
Documentary about many people who lived in train tunnels as it was the most viable way to survive. The expenses from making the movie were so much that even the director became homeless for a while.
Day of the Triffids, directed by Steve Sekely, 1963, 95min
An excellent portrayal of what can happen when war crazed so-called conservative groups such as the Project for a New American Century are allowed to run rampant across the planet, inflicting blindness and terror as they go. Based on the book of the same name.
Entertaining Angels - The Dorothy Day Story, dir. by Micheal Ray Rhodes, staring Moira Kelly, Heather Graham, Martin Sheen, 1996
About Day nad Catholic advocates for the poor. She sure showed her pedantic communist friends a thing or two about the people! Day started many homeless shelters and also the newspaper National Catholic Reporter.
Ford Transit, directed by Hany Abu-Assad, 2003
A half real/half reenacted movie of stories aboard one man's Ford Transit, one of many vehicles Isreali police used in Palestinian areas, but which are now taxis that take people from one checkpoint to the next. There are quite a few of these Fords, and there are quite a few checkpoints. Everyone uses these, young, old, poor, rich (that is, less poor). Gives an interesting cross section of Palestinian society under Israeli occupation.
George Wallace, directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Gary Sinise and Angelina Jolie, 1997
Docudrama about Wallace who was governor of Alabama during the time of the bombing in Spike Lees's 4 Little Girls (which has an interview with the real Wallace)
Hoxsey: How Healing Becomes a Crime, Film by Ken Ausuber and Catherine Salveson, 1987
Tells the tale of Harry Hoxsey (1901-1974), whose grandfather stumbled onto an herbal remedy somewhat effective against cancer. Hoxsey was a former coal miner and Texas oil man, who insisted that his remedy passed down to him be made available to all who needed it whether or not they could afford it. The AMA and specifically AMA Journal editor Morris Fishbein relentlessly hounded Hoxsey as a dangerous, greey quack, to the poin that finally Hoxsey sued Fishbein and Hearst Publications for telling lies about him and his remedy. The court ruled in Hoxsey's favor. At some point Fishbein admitted in court that the treatment did have some merit, and even an AMA test case of the treatement succeeded, but was hushed up after Hoxsey refused to sell all rights for the formula to the AMA when they insisted they could refuse to give treatment if the patient couldn't pay. Ultimately after constant hounding and arrests, though he was always released, the FDA finally shut down all Hoxsey operations saying false labeling and interstate commerce violations, though no real testing was ever done. The clinic moved to Tijuana in 1963, and was renamed the Bio-Medical Center, where the current (in 1987) head claims an 80% cure rate (cure being living for at least another 5 years). Compare that to chemotherapy, which has only a 33% "cure" rate.
Incident at Oglala, directed by Micheal Apted, 1991
About the American Indian Movement, specifically at Pine Ridge where 2 FBI agents were killed, eventually leading to the questionable incarceration of Leonard Peltier.
Inside the School of the Assassins, narrated by Susan Sarandon, 1997
About the U.S. Army's School of the Americas, Ft. Benning, Georgia.
The Insider, staring Al Pacino and Russel Crowes, directed by Michael Mann, 1999
From Mann, famous for Miami Vice and also the movie Heat, comes a dramatized account of the true story of a tobacco executive played by Crowe who burns a hole right through the tobacco industry's decades long carefully tended PR facade, with the aid of a 60 minutes producer played by Pacino, who had to fight the money grubbing CBS lawyers and to a lesser extent Mike Wallace to get the story aired.
Judgement,, 2000
About how some western Journalists souped up pictures to make it look like the serbs were operating vicious concentration camps in Bosnia at Trnopolje and Omarska. The narrator kind of labors the point, but he shows film footage from those journalists, and another set of film from a serbian film crew that was there atthe same time, who filmed the same things the westerners did as well as the westerners themselves. It is quite damning of the westerners. It shows the blatant methods of creative photo cropping and setting up your cameras in strange places that can turn a humanitarian refugee camp into a supposed vicious serb concentration camp. Quite interesting to watch.
Kandahar, directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 2001
Movie from Iranian director Makhmalbaf, about a woman outside Afghanistan trying to reach her sister who is in Kandahar, Afghanistan under Taliban rule, and who wrote that she would soon kill herself in despair. Depicts a land in desperate poverty, and governed by corruption and brutal doctrine.
La Petite Apocalypse, directed by Constantin Costa-Gavras, 1993
Kind of a goofy movie about rebels-turned-yuppies who try to relive their youthful idealism by trying to stage a media event wherein they blindly coerce one of their friends, who they thought was trying to kill himself, into a plot to light himself on fire at the millenium address by the Pope.
The Laramie Project, directed by Boise's Kaufman, HBO Films present a Good Machine Production, based on play by the Tectonic Theater Project, 96min, 2002
Based on interviews with hundreds of people in Laramie about the brutal beating and murder of Mathew Shepard on October 12, 1998 simply because he was gay. First made into a play portraying the interviews, and then made into a movie, this is a powerful look at the undercurrent of violence, bigotry, and general intolerance in America.
Life and Debt, directed by Stephanie Black, 2001
This is a very interesting documentary about how globalization has touched Jamaica. Looks at the claims of the IMF, World Bank, and WTO, and shows what people who actually live there think of them.
Lumumba, directed by Raoul Peck, 2000
Docudrama about Patrice Lumumba and the Congo. Lumumba was the first elected leader of the supposedly newly independent Congo who was assassinated 2 after 2 months in office after which Mobutu Sese Seko siezed power with tthe aid of the Belgian colonialists and the CIA.

Mad City, staring John Travolta, Dustin Hoffman, and Alan Alda, directed by Constantin Costa-Gavras, 1997
Travolta with a shotgun takes over the museum where he worked as a guard until he was laid off. Hoffman, a reporter, suddenly finds himself in a position to tell Travolta's story to the world, while Alda, another reporter, attempts to highjack Hoffman's scoop, while the police get ready to rumble.
The Manchurian Candidate, directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Frank Sinatra, 1962
This premier conspiracy movie has Sinatra as a former POW who was brainwashed to be an assassin.
Millhouse, a White Comedy, directed by Emile de Antonio, 1971, 93 minutes
About Richard Millhouse Nixon, made before Watergate.
Missing, staring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek, directed by Constantin Costa-Gavras, 1981
Dramatized account of the true story of the arrest and murder of Americans Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi, during the military coup in Chile on September 11, 1973 against the democratically elected Salvador Allende, and the fight of Charles' wife and father to uncover the truth. The movie is based on the book The Execution of Charles Horman by Thomas Hauser, and some details of the actual events are in the pile of several thousand formerly secret documents released by the US in 1999 about the US shenanigans in Chile. Horman's wife and father were steadfastly lied to and obstructed from finding the truth about Charles, until finally they could not hide that the Chilean military, who the US supported wholeheartedly, picked him up and murdered him.
Mr. Hoover and I, directed by Emile de Antonio, 1989, 90 minutes
About de Antonio's experiences with the FBI and its former boss J. Edgar Hoover.
Mumia: A Case for Reasonable Doubt, directed by John Edginton, 1996
About the possible framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a black journalist now on death row for shooting a cop.
No Man's Land, film by Danis Tanovic, 2001
An awesome war movie about Gosnia in which 2 serbs and 2 bosnians get caught in a ditch between the lines. One bosnian is wounded, and a serb (soon shot dead) puts a mine under the bosnian so it will explode when the guy is moved. Each side accuses the other of starting everything. The NATO troops (refered to as Smurfs) show up and leave according generally to obscure politics. This is a very good movie.
Northeast Passage-- The Inner City and the American Dream, produced by Cornelius Stuart and Spencer Wolf, Syd Honda Cinema Productions,, 2002
Hour long documentary about gentrification in northeast Portland, Oregon. How do you make a neighborhood better without pushing out the current residents with ridiculous ever increasing rents? Is fresh paint and new trimming really so great?
Paha Sapa, The Struggle for the Black Hills, 1993
This is told by several Sioux people about their land the Black HIlls. It's a story of treaties broken by the white man, gold mining, president's faces carved on the earth. In 1980 and since, the Sioux have refused monetary compensation from the US Government as compensation for having stolen their land.
The Panama Deception, directed by Barbara Trent, 1992
About the U.S. invading Panama with 27000 troops in 1989, losing 23 soldiers, and killing some 1500 Panamanians, ostensibly to Nab the drug fiend Noriega, a graduate of the U.S. Army's School of the Americas, and to protect American lives and property. Iraq, here we come!
The Pianist, directed by Roman Polanski, starring Adrien Brody, 2002
The tale of pianist Wladyslaw Spilman during World War II, based on his book The Pianist, the Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945 (Piladon, NY 1999). If you think you've got problems......
Point of Order, directed by Emile de Antonio, 1963, 97 minutes
Composed of footage from the Army-McCarthy herarings in the 1950s.
Pretty Village, Pretty Flame, directed by Srdjan Dragojevic, 1996
Another bosnian war movie, which shows with cynical zest two guys who grew up together that get whipped up in the war hysteria, and thrash at each other for no terribly good reason.
Rabbit Proof Fence, directed by Philip Noyce, music by Peter Gabriel, based on the book by Doris Pilkington Garimara (1996), Miramax, 2002, 94min
Based on the true story of 3 girls who escaped from a compulsory school for so called half caste children-- mainly children with a white parent (usually the man) and an aboriginal person (usually woman). From the early 1900s to as late as 1970, Australia had a policy of taking these children away from their families, and forcing them into these schools to try to stamp out any traces of aboriginal culture. These children are known as the lost generation. The girls, after escaping the school in south west Australia, walked all the way back to their home in north west Australia by following the alleged Rabbit Proof Fence, a fence across the whole of Australia that was supposed to keep the invasive rabbit species from spreading. The movie is based on the book by the daughter of one of those girls.
Regret to Inform, Susan Sonneborn, Sun Fountain Productions, 1998, 72 minutes
Composed of women from both sides who lost someone in the Vietnam war. Very good.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, filmed and directed by Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Brien,, 2002
About the coup in Venezuela that ousted for two days the twice democratically elected President Hugo Chavez (elected with 58% of the vote, a majority, unlike George W. Bush who only got 47.9% of votes cast) and which the United States government was very quicvk to praise, and blame on Chavez;s allegedly anti-democratic leanings- that said by Colin Powell, who didn't seem to find the Mai Lai Massacre in Vietnam all that much to make a fuss about at the time. Has footage from a team of Irish film makers who happened to be in Venezuela at the time of the coup. Shows democracy at work in better form than for instance Florida in 2000. The coup plotters just happened to own almost all the media in Venzuela, which just happens to persistently broadcase such enlightening things like saying that Chavez has a homosexual fascination of Fidel Castro! You'd have to go all the way to Rush Limbaugh to get such insights in this country. Highly recommended.
Romero, directed by John Duigan, starring Raul Julia, 1989
Dramatized account of Archbishop Oscar Romero who was assassinated in a church in El Salvador in 1980, apparently by graduates of the US Army's School of the Americas, for unexpectedly taking the side of the poor, whowere routinely killed and brutalized by El Salvador's military. Romero always stressed non-violence and peace.
Rush to Judgement, directed by Emile de Antonio, with Mark Lane, based on the book by Lane of the same name, 1966, 110 minutes
Forget the splashy JFK by Oliver Stone. Watch Mark Lane try to track down the actual events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Senorita Extraviada, directed by Lourdes Portillo, 2001, 74 min
Documentary about the killings of women in Ciudad Juarez, a maquilladora area of Mexico. Many women have been lured under very false pretenses, only to be sexually abused, beaten, mutilated and left to die in the desert. The cops do nothing, and some are murderes and rapists themselves. Despite reassurances at the national level that the matter is being looked into, nothing changes, and more women disappear. The murderers are protected by the corruption of the police, factory owners, and especially the drug runners. You can see more about this and Portillo's other movies at her website
Seven Days in May, directed by John Frankenheimer, 1963
Watch a military coup unfold in the USA, and try not to think about all the military types at the White House now, or the consolidation of power into George the Lesser and law enforcement under John Ashcroft.
Showdown in Seattle: 5 Days that Shook Seattle, Independent Media Center,, 1999
Reasonable coverage of the WTO protests in Seattle, Nov 1999.
Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston of NRA and Planet of the Apes fame, 1973
See a thoroughly privatized US, New York as a third world enclave, and hungry protestors scooped up with garbage trucks with scoops on the front.
The Spook Who Sat by the Door, based on the book by Sam Greenlee, an Ivan Dixon Film, 1973, 102min
Recently re-released on a 30th anniversary DVD with interviews with Robert Townsend and Sam Greenlee. Tells the tale of a black man who becomes the first black CIA man after the CIA is accused of being a whites only establishment. This man learns the tricks of the trade, then quits the CIA to become a social worker on the one hand, and a ruthless underground revolutionary for black power, subscribing to tactics of violent insurrection in the face of unrelenting institutional racism.
Thanks of a Grateful Nation, staring Ted Danson, Jennifer Jason-Leigh, Brian Dennehy, Showtime Presents a Rod Holcomb Film, 1998
Dramatization of a few of the many gulf war syndrome sufferers, a congressional aide played by Danson, who investigates Gulf War Syndrom, and the long time knee jerk insistence of various government entities, including thte Verteran's Administration, that it doesn't exist except as a psychological abnormality in the minds of the vets and their spouses, kind of like sickness from Agent Orange and nuclear tests. The movie is interspersed with clips of the actual people portrayed in the film talking about their experiences.
This is What Democracy Looks Like, narrated by Susan Sarandon, 2000
About the protests at the WTO ministerial in Seattle late 1999.
Three Days of the Condor directed by Sydney Pollack, staring Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, and Max von Sydow, 1975
From the director to Tootsie, based on the novel Six days of the Condor by James Grady, a story of a CIA research office that reads book published all over the world in which one researcher sees the wrong thing, and his whole office gets gunned down, but he accidentally escapes death and looks for answers, demands justice, dodges hit men and sorts through lies. The book is a little more gritty, and the movie little more heroic, yet with a grimmer ending, and neither present a very pretty picture of the alleged Intelligence Community.
Traffik written by Simon Moore, directed by Alasair Reid, Carnival Films for Channel 4, 1989
This is the 6 part British TV series on which Steven Soderbergh based his hue saturated movie which, while a noble attempt for a Hollywood movie, doesn't even mention Colombia and gives questionable statistics about drug seizures. I found the series far more gripping and telling than the movie. It takes place in England, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and centers around opium and heroin trafficking.
Underground, directed by Emile de Antonio, 1976, 88 minutes
A big interview with the Weather Underground, who attempted to blow up the White House in the hope that it would help usher in the Revolution.
Unprecedented, the 2000 Presidential Election, directed by Richard R. Pérez, Joan Sekler, LA Independent Media Center Film, 90min, 2002
Clear, cut-to-the-chase documentary about how Gore, who really did win the election, didn't. Talks about the 57700 purged alleged ex-cons, about 90% who were falsely kept on the list, as well as a look at the voting machines used, and the corrupt behind the scenes scamming by the Republicans, as well as the Democrats to a much lesser extent, to get the tally going their way in this great democracy which only had 51% voter turnout in 2000, but I digress. Witness, for instance, the crowds of angry citizens calling for an end of the recount, which just coincidentally happened to be chock full of prominent Republican party staffers. Hold on to your hats for this November. It'll be a long summer and fall.
Vietnam: In the Year of the Pig, directed by Emile de Antonio, 1968, 103 minutes
About the Vietnam War.
Waco: Rules of Engagement, directed by William Gazecki, 1997
Witness frontier justice at Waco against the Branch Davidians.
Z, directed by Constantin Costa-Gavras, 1969
Portrays the unfolding of a military coup in a European country strikingly like Greece, where Costa-Gavras is from, which suffered a CIA supported military coup and subsequent military dictatorship. Very good. This is the movie from which Z Magazine takes its name. One of the stars, Jaques Perrin, has gone on to make the nature documentaries Microcosmos and Winged Migration, which have some very nice footage indeed, though I could do without the little snippets of human voice over.
Zapatista, Big Noise Films, 1998
Looks at Zapatistas and conditions in Southern Mexico. Informative movie, but the directors must shy away from goofy digital effects, in my opinion.