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Movie review: the Corporation

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
anyone seen this movie yet?
its called the Corporation, made by canadian, being shown at a few theaters around town.

it was excellent. a good overview of the historical origins of corporations, including some of their less desireable qualities.

also includes some uplifitng stfuff about bolivians taking back their privatized water supply to make it public, and about a few big CEO's that had sincere hopes of becoming more ethical while still pursing profits. (a lesser of two evils type thing.)

it ended with a wicked speech by micheal moore.

i liked it alot.

:)
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
I saw it twice, the first time after we got evacuated from the Bloor.

It's long. Very long. Which is not bad, but it seems longer when it's got such an intense message. In the end the length was warranted because the content was fantastic. I thought it was great. I especially liked:

-the discussion of American corporations operating in Nazi Germany even after America had entered the war (Prescott Bush style). IBM's hand in the genocide of the Jews not excluded.

-The "spy" guy who discussed his revelation of how American business is done internationally when he was in a room with CEO's, FBI and CIA. Fuck all of you who think I'm over the top when I discuss these things.

-Ray Anderson's turn around after reading "The Ecology of Commerce"

-Michael Moore's point about everything being run by rich white men, a demographic that is highly unrepresentative of the global population which it so greatly effects.

-the commodities trader who quite openly discussed the utter disregard traders in general have for the environment or the things they do. Their reaction to Sept 11: "Is gold up?!?!"

I think it speaks volumes about the shortsightedness of those bent on making money at any cost. This movie lays out quite clearly the fundamental problem I have with people who place commerce over common sense. And there are a lot of them out there.

The films critics complain that the documentary is too left leaning. Sorry the film wasn't sugar coated enough for you. Reality sucks.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Too left leaning? Wha?!


I thought that this was a free country? I thought that expressing an idea, be it left or right, is a form of democracy???


What kind of moron would critique a film as being "too left leaning"?? lol.
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
they're out there.

There was one point in the film, I think it was the Summit in Quebec a couple of years ago when they had erected that big fence, and they were interviewing someone on a panel about all the protestors. "Those people don't know what they're on about, they're full of a bunch of hot air."

haha. Ya. Nothing to do with the forced economic reform of the poorest nations to make them even poorer to the point of starvation.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
I was also at the Bloor showing and evacuated.. I have still yet to see the rest.. I plan on it this weekend but can't confirm showtimes. Anyone have a comprehensive listing of where the movie is playing?
 
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Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
I saw it at Canada Square. I've heard it's at the Carlton too but I haven't actually seen it listed there.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Hmm cuz Canada Square as of last night still had no friday listing for 'Corporation'.

I'll take a look at Carleton's sign on my way home tonight.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by ~atp~
What kind of moron would critique a film as being "too left leaning"?? lol.
Why is such a critique considererd moronic? A film can very easily present only one side (left or right) of an argument without providing a balanced view of the issue at hand. It happens all the time.
 
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~atp~

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by AdRiaN
Why is such a critique considererd moronic? A film can very easily present only one side (left or right) of an argument without providing a balanced view of the issue at hand. It happens all the time.

lol. Yes, but see, the point of this film is obviously not intended to be balanced. If it claimed to be a balanced, politically neutral film, but came across otherwise, then the critique is valid. But clearly, this film is not claiming to be politically neutral.

One must assume the film is biased, then critique the content, not the obvious fact that it's biased. Kinda like reviewing a film called "Satan loves you" and saying: "well, Jim, I think the film was shit cuz Satan was portrayed as a good person"

*shrugs* It's just amusing to me that the choice of criticism was on its political message, which was obvious, and not on the validity, style, or merit of its content.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
I guess I could retract my statement if someone could prove to me that the film was being sold as balanced...
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by AdRiaN
Why is such a critique considererd moronic? A film can very easily present only one side (left or right) of an argument without providing a balanced view of the issue at hand. It happens all the time.

Because the film presents views from both sides, but draws conclusions from the views presented.

You shouldn't really comment on it until you've seen it AdRiaN, arguing the possibility of a counter argument is silver1's arena, you should know better.
 

organik

TRIBE Member
Saw this movie on monday... pretty informative. i learned things i had no idea about. but a lot was reiterating things i did know.

it's insane that a corporation is deemed "a person" in legal standings. so many loopholes... no wonder they're overrunning everything. being a single person, rather than a collective business, means they get breaks on everything. it's sick. Also another thing that suprise me is that after 9/11 gold double in stock price and made a shit load of people rich.

Great film for those interested. lots of information.
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by ~atp~

*shrugs* It's just amusing to me that the choice of criticism was on its political message, which was obvious, and not on the validity, style, or merit of its content.


That's because there's a lot of truth to it, and the only thing left to attack is the message.

Go see it Adrian.
 
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organik

TRIBE Member
here's an additional article I found:

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0120-03.htm

Corporations Need Treatment, Documentary Argues
by Stephen Leahy


TORONTO - Corporations are not only the most powerful institutions in the world, they are also psychopathic, a new Canadian documentary on globalization elegantly argues.

While the corporation has the rights and responsibilities of ”a legal person”, its owners and shareholders are not liable for its actions. Moreover, the film explains, a corporation's directors are legally required to do what is best for the company, regardless of the harm created.

What kind of person would a corporation be? A clinical psychopath, answers the documentary, which is now playing in four Canadian theatres.

”Everything we do in the world is touched by corporations in some way,” says 'The Corporation' writer Joel Bakan.

Six years ago he was researching a book on the subject and teamed up with documentary makers Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, and then set out to drum up enough money to make the film and to do more than 40 interviews.

”Corporations are the most dominant institutions on the planet today. We thought it was worth taking a close look at what that means,” Bakan told IPS.

In law, today's corporations are treated like a person: they can buy and sell property, have the right to free expression and most other rights that individuals have.

This legal creativity came as a result of U.S. businesses using the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- designed to protect blacks in the U.S. South after the Civil War -- to proclaim that corporations should be treated as ”persons”.

The filmmakers show four examples of corporations at work -- including garment sweatshops in Honduras and Indonesia -- to demonstrate that this ”legal person” is inherently amoral, callous and deceitful.

The corporation, the film points out, ignores any social and legal standards to get its way, and does not suffer from guilt while mimicking the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism.

A person with those character traits would be categorized as a psychopath, based on diagnostic criteria from the World Health Organization (WHO), points out the film.

Unlike 'Bowling for Columbine' -- to which it has been compared -- 'The Corporation' does not follow a shambling yet crusading interviewer (Michael Moore) into corporate head offices to ask tough questions.

Instead the filmmakers use simple but beautifully lit head and shoulder shots of its subjects against a black background. The interviewer is never seen or heard; the corporate chiefs, professors and activists speak directly to the viewer.

The technique is so compelling that not listening or turning away would seem impolite.

The interviews are interspersed with archival footage from many sources, including scenes from sweatshops and news conferences. It also includes some ironic and darkly humorous excerpts from corporate ad campaigns and training films from the 1940s and '50s.

But the film is not a rant. It gives ample time to corporate chief executive officers (CEOs) and representatives of right-wing organizations, like Canada's Fraser Institute.

Fraser's Michael Walker tells viewers that hungry people in the developing world are better off when a sweatshop pays them 10 cents an hour to make brand name goods that sell for hundreds of dollars.

And it is just good business sense that a corporation moves to seek out more hungry people when its workers demand higher wages and better working conditions, Walker argues.

Many others are less ruthless. Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, former chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, is honestly concerned about protecting the environment. Under his guidance, Shell adopted many green initiatives and a commitment to developing renewable energy.

At the same time, Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other activists were hung in Nigeria for protesting Shell Oil's pollution of the Niger Delta.

Social critic and linguist Noam Chomsky -- the subject of Achbar's 1992 award-winning 'Manufacturing Consent' -- carefully points out that people who work for corporations, and even those who run them, are often very nice people.

The same could have been said about many slave owners, he observes. The institution -- not the people -- is the problem, Chomsky argues.

Eminent economist Milton Friedman sums up the role of the corporation succinctly: it creates jobs and wealth but is inherently incapable of dealing with the social consequences of its actions.

'The Corporation' documents a bewildering array of these consequences -- including the deaths of citizens who protest corporate ownership of their water in Cochabamba, Bolivia -- that demonstrate the extent and power of today's corporations.

It looks at the often-cozy relationships between corporations and fascist regimes, such as that of IBM and Nazi leader Adolph Hitler.

It demonstrates the power of advertising to create desires for luxury items, as well as how corporations can suppress information.

The documentary shows agribusiness corporation Monsanto successfully preventing the news media from airing a story about the potential health hazards of a genetically engineered drug given to many U.S. diary cows.

'The Corporation' also tells a number of success stories, including activists' successful fight to overturn corporate patents on the neem tree and basmati rice.

Bolivia's Oscar Olivera describes how citizens of Cochabamba city re-took control of their water. The lesson, he explains, is the people's capacity for ”reflection, rage and rebellion” as an effective counter to corporate globalization

That is one of the film's messages, says Bakan. ”We want people to understand that they can change things.”

”Everyone keeps thanking us for making the film,” says Mark Achbar, from the Sundance festival of independent films in Utah state.

”People are fed up with being talked down to and enjoy being intellectually engaged,” he adds, trying to explain the documentary's popularity and several international festival awards.

Despite its current limited distribution in Canada, 'The Corporation' has been sold as a three-part, one-hour TV series to international markets, and Achbar is hoping it will be translated into Spanish.

Of course, there will not be a multi-million marketing campaign. The number of people who will see it will depend on those who have, spreading the word.

That is just one way to take back the power that corporations have usurped.

© Copyright 2004 IPS - Inter Press Service
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
I never said anything specific about this film. You will note that I responded to atp's comment, "What kind of moron would critique a film ...". He did not say, "What kind of moron would critique this film ..."

Nonetheless, I still think you can walk into a film knowing full well about its biases and then criticize it for being too biased. Just because you consider yourself left-wing does not mean you need to buy into every piece of left-wing rhetoric you come across. Just because you agree with the rhetoric does not mean you still can't have problems with the way in which the information is presented.

Again, I'm speaking in general since I have never seen this particular film.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
Actually, I had selected The Corporation as one of my ticket choices in the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival, but it never came through.

Nonetheless, I'm not sure that I could last through such a long movie. I would probably be sore from shaking my head and rolling my eyes for several hours. :)
 

Adam

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by OTIS
Yes, but if you look at the top it says
Week of Friday 16/01 through Thursday 22/01/2004

I prefer to read as little as possible. Why do you think I read the Politics forum?
 
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~atp~

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by AdRiaN
I never said anything specific about this film. You will note that I responded to atp's comment, "What kind of moron would critique a film ...". He did not say, "What kind of moron would critique this film ..."

Ah so you were trolling! ;)


...you should know better than to assume I would make such a brash generality...
 

chipotle

Well-Known TRIBEr
I liked the movie.

It is very long and there is a lot to absorb..although there is a lot of rethoric IMO..that has been put forward in other books...and it will be nothing new for some people. Regardless.. it is a great movie.. no complains here.

good good movie.
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
i liked micheal moore's part in the end.

the fact that we have these avenues to discuss and spread these ideas, that books like stupid white men are all over the place at chapters, despite the irony of it is still a positive sign.

there is a definite push and social responsibility that is becoming expected of corporations. while their advertisements to attempt to prove their ethical ways may not be fully truthful, it is a first step in the idea that it should become naturally unaceptable for certain corporate behaviours to rage unchecked.

makes me feel less guilty about working for big company..

;)
 

Booty Bits

TRIBE Member
Adrian, i went to see it with Albert who is pretty right-wing (economically speaking) and he really got alot out of the movie too.
i think that the filmmakers represented both sides of the debate. hell, they interviewed someone from the harris institute!
 
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