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in berlin | shock and awe

in berlin | shock and awe

Am ending my day in Berlin watching President Obama’s first press conference after starting my day early this morning with Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross’s latest documentary, “The Shock Doctrine.” Tonight, Obama referenced this “winter of our hardship,” referring to a crisis that he said has seen the loss of 3.6 million jobs, half of those in the last 3 months. Winterbottom and Whitecross lay the blame at the feet of Milton Friedman, as I wrote in an indieWIRE dispatch earlier today.

Carefully crafted to support a subjective viewpoint, the doc is an both artful and effective as a call to action. However, when I asked them about the role of non-fiction film in causing change (in contrast to the role of more traditional journalism), the filmmakers begged off, saying that they were ultimately intending to simply tell a story.

I don’t buy it. They clearly have a point of view that is aligned with that of their film’s subject, Naomi Klein, and they are aimed at seeing change happen. But, I understand their not wanting to set the bar too high. The film is still a work in progress, they are getting close to final cut. The version we watched to today seemed to have temp music in spots and lacked end credits. But, its a well-executed survey of three decades of what they called a “disaster capitalism complex” that has crippled the international economy.

Michael Winterbotton (center) and Mat Whitecross (left) at the Berlinale press conference room inside the Grand Hyatt at Potsdamer Platz.
[photo by eugene hernandez]

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