11.28.2011

Green Zone (2010)

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November is Hollywood Propaganda Month here at No Agenda Films.

Director Paul Greengrass announced his intention to adapt Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran after Greengrass had completed The Bourne Ultimatum way back at the beginning of 2007.  In 2010, Green Zone finally came out in theatres.  Paul Greengrass is an interesting filmmaker for several reasons - he comes from a background as a journalist, he is very technically proficient within the film medium and he almost always makes film based on real events. 

His films include; Resurrected (about the Falklands war), Open Fire (about a true police manhunt), The One That Got Away (about Gulf War I), Bloody Sunday (about the 1972 Northern Ireland shootings), United 93 (about the plane that went down in Shanksville, PA on 9/11) and now Green Zone.  He also directed The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum

Here are some thoughts from Mr. Greengrass on the making of Green Zone (found in the Book of Knowledge aka Wikipedia):

"Although Mr. Greengrass initially supported Tony Blair's justifications of the war, he became disillusioned over time. Greengrass carried out extensive research into the background to the conflict, reading left-wing journalists such as Bob Woodward, Seymour Hersh, James Risen, Thomas Ricks, and Ron Suskind, in addition to Rajiv Chandrasekaran, whose book he optioned. He has even compiled a document, How Did We Get It So Wrong?, detailing what he learned."


"Addressing some of the contentions in the film, Greengrass has said that the arguments about disbanding the Iraqi army portrayed in the film represent debates that actually took place by US policy makers. The issue of the culpability of the Fourth Estate, i.e. the mainstream (news) media, or MSM, in taking intelligence at face value, although embodied by a single character, represents a broad based failing in both the USA and UK, but for Greengrass the fault ultimately lay with those trying to manipulate them."

"Greengrass has said that both the Bourne films and Green Zone reflect a widespread popular mistrust of authority that was engendered by governments that have deliberately lied and have let their citizens down over the Iraq war.  The confusion surrounding the absence of WMD in Iraq also provided an ideal scenario for a thriller, in which the protagonist battles for the truth."

Trailer:



Blu-Ray DVD


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11.14.2011

Fair Game (2010)

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November is Hollywood Propaganda Month here at No Agenda Films.

The second film for this month is a perfect double feature for last weeks film, Nothing but the Truth.  That film was fictionalized account of the Judith Miller / Valerie Plame affair that happened in 2003.  This weeks film, Fair Game (2010) is based on Valerie Plame's memoir and directed by Doug Liman (best know for starting the Bourne franchise by adapting The Bourne Identity).  As is the case with any "based on a true story" film, there are bound to be discrepancies.  The Book of Knowledge has some good details on a few of the potential inaccuracies in this film - here.  

Keep in mind that the use of the word "propaganda" here is a two fold application.  First, there is the literal definition of the word; "A concerted set of messages aimed at influencing the opinions or behavior of large numbers of people".  Second, I contend that when Hollywood (or any film producing entity) puts out a "based on a true story", "inspired by true events" or any variation thereof there is a motive behind the film to put an official version of a story into the public consciousness since more people will see a film than any other media associated with the actual event.

For more on Hollywood Propaganda try The World of Cinema podcast episode: Everything is Propaganda!

Trailer:




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11.07.2011

Nothing but the Truth (2008)

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November is Hollywood Propaganda Month here at No Agenda Films.

Our first pick comes from No Agenda producer John.  Nothing but the Truth (2008) was made three years after the real life incident involving the journalist Judith Miller and the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent by Robert Novak.  This film was written and directed by Rod Lurie, whose previous film work speaks to his clear interests in the world of politics; Deterrence, The Contender and The Last Castle.

Here is the synopsis from The Book of Knowledge (aka Wikipedia):
Rachel Armstrong is an ambitious reporter for the Capital Sun-Times. When she discovers fellow soccer mom Erica Van Doren is working as a covert operative for the CIA and recently returned from Venezuela, where she was investigating an assassination attempt on the President of the United States, she confronts her and requests confirmation. Erica refuses to cooperate, but Rachel has no doubts about the veracity of the report, and her story becomes front-page news.

I'm using the term propaganda here since we're talking about a film that was made based on real events.  These types of projects always come with extra baggage since the film version usually ends up being the main source for information about the real events under question.  For example, how many people have seen the film JFK versus how many people have read one whole book about the same incident.  It's easier to watch a film than read a book.  However, in keeping with traditional Hollywood storytelling structure, there is far less complexity in any given Hollywood film than in most non-fiction books.

For more on Hollywood Propaganda try The World of Cinema podcast episode: Everything is Propaganda! 

Trailer:




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