I have yet to create my mid-year top ten list (inspired by my colleague Wendy’s recent list), but one film that is near the top is Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan‘s new doc, “The Corporation.” Amidst all the well-deserved hoopla over Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” and the continued interest in Morgan Spurlock’s terrific “Super Size Me” (two films that are also favorites for 2004), I worry that this powerful look at our contemporary corporate society will somehow be overlooked.
In “The Corporation,” Moore appears as one of many voices commenting on the topic of the increasing influence of corporations on our lives. Yet talking heads are such a small part of this important new film. Achbar, Abbott and Bakan (he’s just published a companion book on the topic) have assembled a compelling collection of episodes that unveil examples funny, odd, and sometimes seriously scary corporate behavior.
I was able to see the film (and chat with the filmmakers) shortly before the movie’s debut at the Toronto International Film Festival last year — I watched it again at Sundance in January. You can read more about the movie in my article about it back in September in Toronto. Here’s a peak:
At the core of the movie, which includes a collection of stories illustrated with archival footage, is a diagnosis of the corporation as meeting the criteria of a psychopath. Noting that corporations are designated as legal persons under the law, the filmmakers explore the personality of this “person” and arrive at their diagnosis through examples that detail corporate harm to workers, humans, animals, and the biosphere.
The film opens today in San Francisco at the Castro Theater and in San Jose, while next Friday it will open in Santa Cruz, Berkeley, Santa Rosa and San Rafael, CA. On June 18, the film will open in Seattle, WA and Sacramento, CA. It will debut in New York on June 30th and L.A. on July 9th and in various other cities throughout this year. A full list of cities and dates is available on “The Corporation” website.
Pictured: A scene from Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan’s “The Corporation,” image provided by the filmmakers.