True Films

Please Vote For Me


please-vote

Talk about unleashing democracy in China…here’s a cautionary tale. As an experiment, a third-grade class in a large city in China introduces elections for the class monitor. Elections are new to the kids, parents and teachers. The results are fascinating, horrifying, and electrifying. Every abuse and virtue of democracy is re-discovered. Bribery, mudslinging, spin, debates, slander, campaign reform — and all this with the first few weeks in elementary school! We also get a glimpse into how China’s one-child policy focuses pathological amounts of parental attention as they “coach” their kids. This short (less than an hour) film operates on many levels: it is a lesson about democracy, a warning to China, a reminder about the lord-of-the-flies savagery of third grade, and a portrait of a fat boy who will probably grow up to someone’s tormenting boss — or president. A lovely hoot, with lots of moments, in Mandarin with subtitles.

– KK

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Please Vote For Me
Weijun Chen
2007, 58 min.
DVD, $15

Official website

Read more about the film at Wikipedia

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Available from Amazon

Posted February 25, 2009 at 5:00 am | comments


Hearts and Minds


hearts-minds

A hard-hitting anti-war expose, aimed at the Vietnam War. By now the sheer folly, criminality, waste, brutality, and stupidity of the Vietnam War is evident, but back in 1974, when this powerful documentary was made, it was a brave step. This film does not pretend to be an even-handed analysis. Like a proto-Michael Moore film, it uses ironic juxtapositions to make its points. It does not counter with Viet Cong atrocities, which have their own foolish brutality, worthy of a similar film. Hearts and Minds ends up being a well-done, entertaining case against war anywhere.

(Just for balance I am eager to see a film making the case that the Vietnam War was a good idea. Nominations wanted.)

– KK

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Most dramatic moment with General Westmoreland

Hearts and Minds
Peter Davis (II)
1974, 112 min.
DVD, $25

Official website

Read more about the film at Wikipedia

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Posted February 18, 2009 at 5:00 am | comments
| in category History


Harlan County, USA


Harlan

Filmed in 1975, this award-winning documentary still has bite. It’s won much applause for its support of poor hard-scrabble miners in a Kentucky coal community, and their struggles to unionize a job that no human should do. The start of the film gives you an idea of the dirty hell fired up by this kind of low-tech coal mining. But equally important, this film is a deep immersion into the tangled small town Appalachian life of 1975 — a community and lifestyle that no longer exists. It captures the bloody drama of the strike including the climatic standoff with “scabs” shooting machine guns. Sadly the local villains play out the stereotype of corrupt southern white racist bullies. You could not cast their roles more perfectly. Watching this documentary feels like you spent 2 years sitting on the front porch with these characters, which is what the filmmaker did.

– KK

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Harlan County, USA
Barbara Kopple
1976, 103 min.
DVD, $24

Official website

Read more about the film at Wikipedia

Rent from Netflix

Available from Amazon

Posted February 13, 2009 at 5:00 am | comments