Through the decades of the 1940s and 1950s in America, societal monotony with its binary vision and easy moral choices began to change into a complex and uncomfortable nation of people, thanks in part to a revolutionary foray into areas of literary taboo in movies and in books such as Grace Metalious’ Peyton Place.
Though there are many concerns among groups in the US regarding hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), the opinions of some groups are quite polarized and more glaring than others. This article suggests consideration for perspectives not often heard in the ads and news items—those of local landowners and others most affected by the decisions to keep or curtail gas drilling operations. The most publicized are the perspectives of celebrities and others who have the wealth to support media advertising and film production. Continue reading Celebrity protest: Gasland or La La Land?→
If you’ve ever had any doubt that movies influence, look no further than to consider the effects of this month’s movie, Gasland (Fox, 2010). It is difficult to imagine how a propaganda film that presents such a complex technical topic to a public audience could garner much interest, let alone stir so many in our nation toward irrational fears. However, as we have noted in our past commentaries, fearmongering is a great way to attract attention and to create public unrest.
When settling down to watch a documentary film, I remind myself of two important things:
Rarely does a documentary film tell the whole story.
People believe what they want to believe.1
It was with this mindset that I watched Gasland (Fox, 2010), not just with an open mind, but also with an inquisitive one. Gasland presents an up-and-close narrative on the surmised ramifications of hydraulic fracturing, “fracking,” and how this well-stimulation technology negatively affects America’s habitat. Lauded by film critics, Gasland received a nomination in 2011 for Best Documentary Feature by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. That recognition along with its 97% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes must please the film’s writer/director, Josh Fox, and those who support him.
BUT the human mind is not a film which registers once and for all each impression that comes through its shutters and lenses. The human mind is endlessly and persistently creative. The pictures fade or combine, are sharpened here, condensed there, as we make them more completely our own. They do not lie inert upon the surface of the mind, but are reworked by the poetic faculty into a personal expression of ourselves. We distribute the emphasis and participate in the action.
—Lippman, Public Opinion
The Worst of Times and the Weather Underground
Some may remember the times and maybe even some of the events recounted in the film, The Weather Underground. It was a time of terrible unrest, yet I venture to guess that most remember the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination more strongly than other events of the era. Continue reading The Weather Underground: Define Documentary Film?→
Insight for film groups, critics, scholars, and fans