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Kathryn’s Pick of the Week: 4/24-4/30

April 24, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

We love Cine-File!  Here is Kathryn’s pick of the week:

Charles Ferguson’s INSIDE JOB

Inside Job is not one of those propaganda documentaries that keeps hitting you over the head with their point of view. This documentary, more clearly than I’ve ever seen done, using diagrams and systematic explanations, explains how the financial collapse took place, step by step, one falling domino at a time. Excellent film, also recommend is Casino Jack and the United States of Money (not the drama, but the documentary version), which explains the undoing of one of the “earlier” lobbyists in a system that is still getting increasingly worse. Both very matter-of-fact, even-handed documentaries.

Doc Films (University of Chicago) Saturday, 7 and 9:30pm and Sunday, 3pm
Unlike most of the current-events documentarians working today, Charles Ferguson makes few pretenses toward making art. His two features, No End in Sight and now this, are constructed to advance their arguments as clearly as possible, with few stylistic frills to get in the way. His straight-ahead approach is most welcome in Inside Job, a film whose material could have easily inspired agitprop or a simple arc of rage and catharsis. The subject is corruption in the investment banking industry, whose pervasiveness, Ferguson argues, was responsible for recent economic crises around the world. Like No End in Sight, the film presents hordes of information but does so in such a way that it never overwhelms the spectator. The film even manages to explain the derivatives market clearly—a true accomplishment considering the market seems devised in a way that would confuse ordinary people. It’s hard to watch Inside Job without often feeling enraged: Over and over again, the film exposes the industry’s contempt for all but the super-wealthy—as well as its lobbying efforts to install this bias at the heart of U.S. economic policy. Yet Ferguson’s levelheaded approach demands that one understand the subject before responding to it emotionally. (The director shows discerning reason even in his choice of interviewees: Whenever possible, he defers to someone with first-hand experience of the topic; political commentators are kept, graciously, to a minimum.) This may not be crucial cinema, but it is crucial information, and Ferguson’s conviction that it should be more widely known makes Inside Job a worthy act of citizenship, too. (2010, 108 min, 35mm) BS

More info at www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.

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