FILM OF THE DAY: PAGE ONE – INSIDE THE NEW YORK TIMES (2011)

“Could the New York Times go out of business?”

url

“WE’RE HERE TO TAKE NOTE OF THE FACT THAT JOURNALISM IS ALIVE AND WELL, AND FEISTY…”

cfc3e7e5c4e015d09d_llm6bne04

ONLINE VS. PRINT – THE COLLISION OF TWO WORLDS.

ipad-nyt1

David Carr: “Y’know what this reminds me of? A newspaper! Is this the bridge to the future or… no, it’s a gallows!”

page-one-movie-image-slice-01

REGULATION OF A DYING INDUSTRY? WHAT IS TO BE THE FATE OF PRINT MEDIA AND HOW MANY OF THESE JOURNALISTS WILL BE EMPLOYED TO RUN A BLOG…?

May Day Film For Thought

 

If a Tree Falls (2011) – Oscar Nominated for Best Documentary Feature

If we are in a state of crisis, if the world around us is cut down, burned to the ground, bought and sold as though somebody actually believes they own it, if it is pumped full of poisons until its water is toxic and the trees shed their leaves before they are split from their roots, and if the walls that supposedly protect us also keep us contained, what is there that we can say? As Daniel McGowen asks in this documentary that in part tells his story and part the story of the Earth Liberation Front, when you’re screaming from the top of your lungs and nobody hears you, what can you do?

Some believe peaceful protest is the most fitting form of action for a democracy, others believe that talk gets us nowhere. When so many backs are turned against you, and so many fingers wedged into ears, what difference will your placards and your catch-phrases make? What difference do your blockades make, your sit-ins, your demonstrations when you’re up against batons, pepper-spray and government sanctioned intervention? When the game is rigged against you?

The ELF was born out of frustration. All over America cells sprang up to take action against those they saw to be damaging the Earth. They burned lumber yards to the ground, meat-packing plants, SUV dealerships etc. They were branded terrorists. If a Tree Falls largely explores the validity and appropriateness of this term for these particular crimes. These were actions undertaken, we are told, out of care and the full realisation of the fragility, beauty and value of nature and life. So, who are the real terrorists? What does it mean to be an environmental terrorist? Does it mean those who torch the lumber yard? But what of those who turn our forests into lumber? When was the last time that a chairman for an oil company was arrested over an oil spill?

Business believes it speaks louder than anything else (money doesn’t talk, it swears – Bob Dylan). After a while of trying to get yourself heard over the deafening din of money-printing machinery, people get tired of screaming themselves hoarse. Those with the most to gain count on this. But those with the most to lose don’t always give up.

Many of those involved in the ELF have been caught and punished. Whether you agree with their methods or not, it would surely be foolish to deny the necessity of the sense of urgency which drove their cause.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2uAKxbDoDA

ELF website: http://earth-liberation-front.org/

NY Times index of articles on eco-terrorism: http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/organizations/e/earth_liberation_front/index.html

Fox News on why ‘eco terrorism’ is the FBIs number 1 domestic terrorist threat: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,343768,00.html

Guardian article on the non-existent threat of ‘eco terrorism’: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/17/eco-terrorism-policing-environmental-activists

What the Frack Do We Know…?

By Jesse Tadini Rybolt.

Josh Fox’s mostly overlooked 2010 feature Documentary Gasland may now take on new significance for British viewers.

Gasland (2010)

With ministers currently deliberating whether to give the ‘unconventional gas’ industry the green light in the UK, Natural Gas welling may soon be in your back garden. This process, known as fracking, was already making headlines last year when two minor earthquakes were triggered in Blackpool as a result of drilling the wells. Fracking involves drilling 2 kilometres into the earth, a ton of explosives, millions of gallons of water and a load of carcinogenic chemicals – do that near a fault line and no wonder you get earthquakes.

Much like the majority of the DogWoof output, Gasland  follows the paradigm of the little guy vs. corporate or governmental (or both’s) greed and corruption. However, unlike the majority of DogWoof’s mostly political and environmental catalogue, Gasland manages to intertwine the classic talking-heads documentary form with moments of visual and aural beauty, serving to remind us that whilst documentary must serve its’ purpose, it is still cinema and still art. Little White Lies’  Zara Miller described it as: “The 21st Century’s answer to Erin Brokovich, with a Banjo”.

Not really sure where that’s going, but fear not, you will not be subjected to an hour and half of a dungareed, porch-dwelling Julia Roberts strumming away, grinning a toothless Mona-Lisa smile. Just the all American road-trip and a shed load of good ol’ fashion sticking it to “The Man”.

All that said, the film is rather one-sided but it’s a side that the gas companies and politicians can easily shout above. I need to look further into it myself, and we all have to make up our minds. Either way, we may all be affected soon, so for the time being, this is well worth watching.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZe1AeH0Qz8