Farenheit 911

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Sunday 4 July 2004 5.21pm
Just been to see this film.

It was shocking and upsetting, but eye opening.

Michael Moore, as usual, has certain points he want to make, but even if you do not agree with him, the footage in the film is telling.

I think everyone in SE1 should go to see it (Apologies James, that's as SE1 specific as this post is - I think posters will want to talk about this once they've seen it).

Sunday 4 July 2004 7.20pm
Probably one for the Chatter section really...

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Monday 5 July 2004 8.56am
where did you go and see it?
Monday 5 July 2004 6.30pm
There are previews on various days - I went to the West India Quays cinema, but its also on at Surrey quays
Tuesday 6 July 2004 8.17am
This is the film / documentary that I'm really keen to see. Should be released here later in the year...

Wednesday 14 July 2004 11.15am
That looks very interesting indeed, Harriet!
Friday 16 July 2004 3.39pm
Me and him went to see it at Surrey Quays on wednesday,

was indeed shocking and eye opening but well worth seeing.

One thing got me though, the other countries that formed the coalition, (us, australia, spain etc) had been left out and the UK never got a mention, when I am sure that Michael Moore would have an opinion on the uk's involvement.

Sunday 1 August 2004 11.09am
Siduhe Wrote:
> This is the film / documentary that I'm really
> keen to see. Should be released here later in the
> year...

> http://www.economist.com/business/displayStory.cfm
> ?story_id=2647328

Hi Harriet (and others),

I managed to see The Corporation during the Wellington Film Festival, which has just ended. It was very interesting (especially as a new student of economics), in parts quite moving, and well worth going to see. As the review in the Economist points out, early on it describes the history of the legal notion of the company/corporation as a legal entity, which I hadn't known before stemmed from the right to liberty given to slaves in America after the civil war.

It's not really surprising that a magazine such as The Economist should end it's review by criticising the state, and the fact that the filmmakers don't cover the alternate viewpoint, but they go a little far when they say:

"Infinitely more powerful than firms and far less accountable for its actions, the modern state has the capacity to behave even in evolved western democracies as a more dangerous psychopath than any corporation can ever hope to become"

This is pretty disputable (I'd say plain rubbish), since we can vote out governments (albeit through imperfect electoral systems), and attempt to hold them accountable in the courts too - and in the US there's obviously the role the Supreme Court can play regarding the constitutionality of new legislation. The citing at the end of the review of North Korea is disingenuous since the form of state ownership there is hardly the same as a western democracy. In any case the film didn't come over to me (at least) as saying that everything should be nationalised and that trade is 'a bad thing', but that maybe we need to look at reforming the law on companies, so that returning value to shareholders is not the sole legal motivation for companies. Interestingly, during the film, Milton Friedman appears to say that Corporate Social Responsibility activities by firms are undemocratic since they start bringing the company into the proper realm of the state....

Anyway, until the film comes out in London, you can check out the website that the filmakers have created: http://www.thecorporation.com/.

If you're interested in this sort of film, and haven't already seen it, The Fog of War, which has Robert McNamara setting out what he learnt in 5 decades of working in and around public policy making, is also fascinating. In this case there are two websites. First is an above average one from thefilm studio and then there's a site with lots of extra material for students produced by Brown University in Rhode Island.

And finally, I've just finished reading a relatively lightweight, but still funny and slightly provoking novel called Jennifer Government, about a world in which multinationals run the show and governments have lost the power of taxation. Amazon details here. The author has even created a website based on the novel called Nation States which lets you create and run a nation according to your own political philosophy. A bit like SimCity but with politics involved... The author's blog says that the novel is 'in development' with George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh's production company, so at some point a film may emerge.

Anyway... The Corporation is well worth going to see when it arrives in London.

"There is not a crime, there is not a dodge, there is not a trick, there is not a swindle, there is not a vice, which does not live by secrecy. Get these things out in the open, describe them, attack them, ridicule them in the press, and sooner or later public opinion will sweep them away." - Pulitzer, 1978
Monday 2 August 2004 9.09am
Hi Andrew - thanks for your mail - it's made me even keener to check this out when it gets to the UK.

I enjoyed Jennifer Government too - (and there was a Rogue Nation of Siduhe on Nation States for a little while) [but I thought Syrup was better].

I thought the Economist article was pretty balanced - even the reference to the capaity of the state to do as much or even more damage than a corporation - North Korea's an extreme example, but you only have to look at the US' refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol or the Japanese refusal to abide by whaling quotas to get the point that the Economist is making.

That said, I do think it is a bit much to expect the documentary makers to work this angle in too - it would double the length of the film !
Thursday 30 September 2004 8.39am

RESFEST at the NFT includes the "much-awaited" UK premiere of The Corporation on Sunday 3rd October at 5:30pm. Tickets are 7.90.

If any other SE1'ers fancy it, let me know...

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