ReelPolitik

4 Healthcare Movies the Supreme Court Needs to See

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 28, 2012 10:19 AM
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  • 0 Comments
As the debate around the future of America's healthcare rages on in the Supreme Court and the media, with many observers suggesting that the conservatives members of the court plan to strike down part or all of "Obamacare"--a moniker that seems flattering rather than invasive (why not have a president who cares?)--I'd like to offer a little educational viewing for our high justices. Here are four healthcare related movies they need to see (feel free to add some more suggestions):

"Scenes of a Crime": Unjust Verdict Upheld as Doc Winner Hits Theaters

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 26, 2012 2:23 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Adrian Thomas, the man at the center of the award-winning documentary "Scenes of a Crime" (Filmmaker Magazine's Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You, Grand Jury Prize Winner at Full Frame and DOC NYC), has not been granted an appeal, a state court has ruled, according to reports. The compelling documentary, which opens in New York on Friday, offers a strong case for Thomas' innocence and striking scientific evidence that suggests Thomas was wrongly convicted and a confession was coerced by police.

Anti-Abortion Propaganda Film Ranks #8 At Weekend Box-Office

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 25, 2012 9:23 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Not far behind Warner Bros's "Project X" and Paramount's "A Thousand Words" at the weekend box-office, a little indie film called "October Baby" has broken out, in limited release, making over $1.7 million in ticket sales. But this is one non-Hollywood film I won't be championing. As the right-wing propaganda machine continues its war on women, "October Baby" is being used as a rallying tool for social conservatives, trying to generate further animosity for the dangerous evils of female healthcare--and oh, yeah, that operation known as an abortion.

The Politics of "The Hunger Games," from Fox News to Salon to Ebert

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 23, 2012 10:02 AM
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  • 8 Comments
As I suspected, "The Hunger Games" is becoming hot political fodder for the mediasphere, with outlets on both the right and the left geting on board the politicizing bandwagon and making an issue of the teen-film phemomenon. Is it feminist? Is it anti-government? Is it anti-capitalist? Apparently, it is anything you want it to be. Here's a rundown of some of the political interpretations of the film. And like any good mass-market product, its ideology is, of course, extremely conflicted and all over the map. Remember 'The Matrix"?

Protesting Filmmakers Cry Victory, But How Will PBS Resurrect Indie Docs?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 23, 2012 9:37 AM
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  • 0 Comments
After PBS was aggressively petitioned by independent documentary filmmakers last week (see my article "The PBS Debacle") over changes to their programming schedule, the New York Times is reporting that the public broadcasting company has agreed to find a new home for the two long-running series, P.O.V. and Independent Lens, that were effectively banished from regularly scheduled spots. But while Kartemquin Films, the company that launched the protest, is rejoicing along with many in the nonfiction creative community, it remains to be seen where the two doc showcases will land.

"Cosmopolis": Post 9/11 Allegory or Economic Crash Parable?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 22, 2012 11:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Don DeLillo is my favorite author, and David Cronenberg is one of my favorite filmmakers. The announcement that Cronenberg would lend his "Crash"-like sensibility to the first film adaptation of one of DeLillo's novels -- 2003's "Cosmopolis" -- stirred in me no shortage of cinephiliac and intellectual excitement. With the French-subtitled teaser trailer now going viral, and anticipation of a Cannes premiere, I thought it might be a good time to examine what that swiftly edited montage of images is all about--and Robert Pattinson's appearance doesn't have anything to do with it.

Documentary Filmmakers Turn Up the Heat on PBS; More from the Trenches

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 20, 2012 9:06 AM
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  • 6 Comments
Don't piss off documentary filmmakers. They are an activist bunch, by nature, and when they feel wronged, they band together and fight back. As Kartemquin Films' Tim Horsburgh told me, while I was researching this recent Indiewire article (The PBS Debacle: Why a New Time Slot Spells Disaster For Indie Docs): "It's incredible at how the documentary community be can be a collaborative force when it needs to be. In theory, we should be competing, for grants and for distribution, but it's not like that. We're all in this together."

Is "The Hunger Games" Anti-Capitalist Cinema for the 99%? Or Anti-Gov't Agit-Prop?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 16, 2012 9:58 AM
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  • 4 Comments
While I'm loathe to promote a pop cultural event such as "The Hunger Games," it'll be interesting to see where the culture wars take positions on the new teen fantasy franchise, which according to early reviews, is going to be seen by lots and lots and lots of people. I'm not familiar with the books, and my only interest in the film is its politics, not its entertainment value, but the very premise suggests an attack on much of what our infantile culture worships: reality TV, celebrity, fame and material wealth. And sure, this baby is all about making money for studio Lionsgate and the other investors in the film, but I do believe it is possible--though rare--for a corporate film to have its capitalistic cake and choke on it, too. See "V For Vendetta" or "FIght Club."

An Injury to One is An Injury to All... Filmmakers

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 15, 2012 10:11 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Last October, I blogged about the belated--and much welcomed--DVD release of Travis Wilkerson's celebrated agit doc "An Injury to One," a stirring, compelling and formally innovative documentary about the lynching of a famous union agitator named Frank Little in Montana nearly a century ago. The film had garnered added relevance with the growing Occupy Wall Street movement, and was singled out by Dennis Lim in an L.A. Times story as "one of American independent cinema's great achievements of the past decade": The film seemed to have found an ideal moment to enter the mediasphere. But not so, according to Wilkerson.

"The Fog of War": Part II: Errol Morris Takes on Donald Rumsfeld

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • March 14, 2012 1:30 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Errol Morris, the Oscar-winning director of "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara," about the infamous Vietnam-era Secretary of Defense, has a similar target up his sleeves: a new project on Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense who helped plan the Iraq War and sanctioned America's policies of torture, according to a story in today's Vulture.

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