Archive for May, 2009

Sophie Scholl DVD
DVD: Sophie Scholl – The Final Days
Sophie Scholl – The Final Days [Blu-ray]

The White Rose Society were college students in Munich in 1942-43. They covertly printed a series of leaflets that opposed Hitler, in an effort to wake up their fellow students. For this they were arrested by the Gestapo and tried for treason.

“Isn’t it true that every honest German is ashamed of his government these days? Who among us can imagine the degree of shame that will come upon us and our children when the veil falls from our faces and the awful crimes that infinitely exceed any human measure are exposed to the light of day?” –White Rose Society, Leaflet 1

I will post a series on “Standing Up To Fascism,” as this is highly relevant to today and should remain so indefinitely.

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Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (German)


DVD: Aguirre, the Wrath of God

Don Lope de Aguirre (Klaus Kinski) is a conquistador in the 1560s. As a member of Pizarro’s team, he is sent on ahead with a group of soldiers, monks, slaves and two women.

The Indians have told the Spaniards a tall tale about a land of gold called El Dorado. Just follow the river. Have fun.

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Get the DVD: Bob Roberts

“And they complain and complain and complain and complain and complain.” –Bob

Bob Roberts is one of the most hard-hitting, smart, and funny political satires ever produced in the U.S. This is a “mockumentary” supposedly produced by a British team assigned to cover the senatorial campaign of Bob Roberts.

Roberts (Tim Robbins) is running to be senator of Pennsylvania, and he is up against Gore Vidal’s incumbent character, a tired, worn-out pragmatist.

As a mockumentary, everything plays as in real time, and the camera runs on, much as This Is Spinal Tap (Special Edition DVD) purported to do previously. Both films are great, and they grab the viewer and never let go.

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Posted: May 26, 2009 in John Scagliotti

“Vermont’s GLBT Liberation Short Films Fest”

by John Scagliotti

Center For Independent Documentary


Kopkind/CID Retreat

Invitation to filmmakers:
We are pleased to announce a call to independent documentary filmmakers who would like to participate in a weeklong seminar and retreat in southern Vermont.

Event Info
Sunday August 2nd-August 9th, 2009

Tree Frog Farm, Guilford Vermont

The Center for Independent Documentary (CID) and the Kopkind Center are sponsoring this week-long retreat limited to nine filmmakers along with special invited guests at Treefrog Farm in Guilford Vermont from August 2nd (Sunday is the travel day) to Sunday, August 9th. The theme for the morning seminars is:

Brainstorming to a new future in independent filmmaking

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Get: Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers

Thank Robert Greenwald for pursuing these stories. Greenwald has a long list of insightful documentaries including:

Unprecedented – The 2000 Presidential Election

Uncovered – The Whole Truth About the Iraq War

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism

Unconstitutional – The War On Our Civil Liberties

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price

The Real McCain

In Iraq For Sale, the audience learns that the mercenaries, the profiteers and the torturers are immune from prosecution. They can murder, steal, rape and pillage abroad while their companies fleece the American taxpayers at home. This film should make any American mad as hell and not willing to take it any longer.

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Brazil (1985)

Posted: May 21, 2009 in Joe Giambrone
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Get DVD: Brazil

Terry Gilliam’s wild ride makes waking up to fascism fun.

Yes, even mid-level bureaucrat/technocrats like Sam Lowry have dreams. They dream of love and heroism. But why is that love always stolen away?

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Robocop (1 & 2)

Posted: May 20, 2009 in Joe Giambrone
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Get the Blu-Ray: Robocop

Get the DVD: Robocop (20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition)


What can I say? I’ve seen these two films at least 20 times each. Skip the third one, however, because it’s just not up to par.

In the near future, through endless “privatization” schemes, tyrannical corporations will run society. Headed by sociopaths like Dick Jones, these aggressive pirate plunderers play games with people’s lives, livelihoods, their cities and the very structure of society.

In this case, the police department of Old Detroit becomes a testing ground for the new cyborg police officer initiative. All Omni Consumer Products needs is a test subject: Murphy.

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Taxi to the Dark Side

Get the DVD: Taxi To the Dark Side

(2007 Academy Award Winner: Best Documentary)

See also: A ride through America’s Dark Side

Review: Taxi to the Dark Side centers on the murder of Afghan taxi driver “Dilawar,” who was tortured to death by US prison guards at “Bagram Collection Point” detention center in December of 2002.

I was leery of watching this harsh, gritty film for a long time. Now, having done so, I am astounded that the “Academy” gave it their highest award, as they had previously not been so daring and outright political in their choices. Taxi to the Dark Side is unflinching, for the most part, in its indictment of Rumsfeld’s and Cheney’s tyrannical rule and war crimes. They did get away with command responsibility for torture, murder and other atrocities. This is not glossed over, and it prompts the viewer to demand justice now.

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The last honest American public figure.


Get the DVD: An Unreasonable Man

The opening shot of the film:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” –George Bernard Shaw, “Man and Superman” 1903

Review: This documentary highlights Ralph Nader’s career as a consumer-advocate lawyer, an organizer, and a presidential candidate. The interviews come from many detractors and supporters, as well as Nader himself and members of his family. The film is informative and shows, for the record, Ralph Nader’s long and historic career which literally changed America in countless ways.

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Chinatown (1974)

Posted: May 15, 2009 in Joe Giambrone

Chinatown, Jack Nicholson, Roman Polanski
Get the DVD: Chinatown (Special Collector’s Edition)

Chinatown is, of course, one of the greatest films ever made. The ending is shocking, horrific, and completely set up along the story’s path.

It is a very political film, as well, which is what makes it resonate so deeply. At one point at the climax, Jack Nicholson exclaims, “He owns the cops!”

That is a political reality, a social reality and the tragedy of it all in a nutshell. This obscenely rich old degenerate can commit heinous crimes with impunity. He is above the law, above accountability and above morality, simply because of his extraordinary wealth. This plays out to its logical conclusion before our eyes, a microcosm of a greater political reality with much more widespread implications.

I love this film. It is the quintessential film noir. Robert Towne’s script is online here, for free.