Author Archives: zach

Citizenfour

Documentary about Edward Snowden and the US surveillance programs. It was an interesting film and interesting to see Snowden speak himself about why he decided to leak. It was clearly a difficult and extremely thoughtful choice that he went into knowing the potential consequences.

I’d seen ‘Snowden’ the drama film and I couldn’t help comparing it to that. I think ‘Snowden’ is significantly better. It gives more context about Snowden, shows more about the surveillance programs, and just tells a better story overall.

3 stars. (This is purely compared to ‘Snowden’. I’d say see ‘Snowden’ instead. On it’s own it would be 4 stars.)

 

Reds

I’ve tried to watch this movie twice before but it’s a kinda a slow start and I gave up. I’m glad I finally watch it to the end! It’s a good story that touches on sexism in the left, the Bolshevik revolution, socialist activity in the US, left in fighting, and the problems with the Bolshevik state. All through the lens of a compelling love story. The love story is the main focus of the film but the revolutionary activity is more than just a background as it has been in a few other films.

Warning: It is long. ~3 hours.

4 stars!

Network

This was a really interesting look at media. The earlier stages of journalism vs corporate profits. They are satirizing a lot of what is just taken for granted now: sensationalized new, fancy sets, opinion mixed with news, etc. It’s interesting to see how far it’s fallen.

Some interesting gender and relationship stuff too.

4 stars

Manufacturing Consent – Noam Chomsky and the Media

This is a really in depth look at media and the role it plays in controlling the masses in a democracy. It dispels a lot of common ideas about democracy and the ‘free press’ and shows how the media limits the scope of discussion and attention to what benefits those with power (not always, and not deliberately, but in general, because of how the systems work).

It also give a lot of background about Noam Chomsky and the work he does. Most of the film is a mash up of different interviews he’s given. He’s a very confident and articulate speaker who clearly knows a lot about what he’s talking about and can explain it fairly simply. He’s able to make very uncommon views seem very reasonable.

I think it’s the longest radical movie night film we’ve watched, and it is really packed full of new and challenging ideas. If you’re just watching it on your own it’d probably be best to watch in pieces so they’re easier to digest.

5 stars!

 

The Anarchist’s Wife

This film was pretty focused on the romance and didn’t have as much of the politics or history of the Spanish Civil War as I had expected. Also, the film didn’t explore Manuela’s (The Anarchist’s Wife) politics really at all to the point that it was unclear if she even had any. The daughter Paloma was actually a much more dynamic and interesting character.

It was a good romance/drama, but not a great radical film.

2 stars

Trailer: http://www.videodetective.com/movies/the-anarchists-wife/402093

 

13th

This Netflix documentary documents the transition of state oppression from slavery -> jim crow / segregation -> mass incarceration.

It is very well made and insightful. With lots of interviews of different experts in these areas.

It really shows how central race has been throughout the history of the United States. Though sometimes it is obscured, politicans are often speaking in coded racial language to other white people. It’s always been the same fight. #blacklivesmatter

We did wish it had more action steps at the end. We were feeling really sad and overwhelmed. Some next steps could have helped from feeling just demoralized.

5 stars!

Do the Right Thing

This is such a complex and interesting film. This was the second time I watched it and it still feels like there are a lot of things I’m missing.

Do the Right Thing is a perfect radical movie night film. Some films are so clear cut that there isn’t much left to say or discuss. Do the Right Thing explores a lot more grey areas and perspectives that some people (white people) are not as familiar with, leading to much more interesting discussions about race, violence, and media.

5 Stars if you’re watching it to discuss with other people!
4 Stars otherwise.