FILMS NOMINATED FOR 1998 AWARDS PROMOTING PEACE
Several films released in 1998 have already been nominated
for awards. The Boxer has been nominated for
the best film promoting PEACE. The classic Romeo and Juliet
story, set in Northern Ireland, shows the human absurdity
of a war between the modern Capulets and Montagues. The later
peace agreement by British Prime Minister Tony Blair may be
seen as a fulfillment of the ambitions of the director, Jim
Sheridan, whose earlier In the Name of the Father
won a Political Film Society award in 1993.
A second nominee for the category peace is John Sayles's
Men with Guns, a story of a retired physician who
seeks to learn the result of a project to send newly trained
physicians to the provinces of a Spanish-speaking country
where indigenous peoples live without proper medical care.
What the physician finds, instead of a fulfillment of the
aims of the project, is that everyone is caught up in a life-and-death
struggle between government and guerrilla forces. Any medical
help to villagers is perceived as aiding either the government
or the guerrillas, neither of which appear to be engaged in
heroism. The physician's naïveté is shattered, and the audience
learns that the spiral of violence is endless unless the public
awakens to the reality that indigenous peoples have a right
to life without molestation, yet their plight is used cynically
by guerrillas, who in turn provoke senseless violence from
MOORE'S THE BIG ONE EXPOSES ARROGANT CEOs
Although a documentary, not eligible for a Political Film
Society award, Michael Moore (of Roger & Me
fame) films his book tour of the United States and efforts
to interview corporation heads regarding massive employment
layoffs and corporate welfare in the context of megaprofits.
A highlight of the film is the interview with the CEO of Nike,
who says that "Americans just do not want to make shoes."
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FILMS NOMINATED FOR AWARDS PROMOTING DEMOCRACY
Barry Levinson's Wag the Dog has been nominated
for best film in 1998 promoting the need for greater DEMOCRACY.
Similar to Catch 22, the film plays out a plausible
scenario to an absurd conclusion. In this case, a presidential
candidacy wanes, provoking the incumbent to launch an external
war in order to boost his re-election chances. The candidate
allows political advisers to turn political campaigning into
media hype, style without substance, thus destroying the meaning
of democratic elections. Although the events appear to depict
George Bush entering Iraq, no such docudrama is involved.
Instead, the audience views a more paradigmatic portrayal
of the way in which elections are used as devices to control
public images rather than to debate important issues.
Mike Nichols's Primary Colors develops the same
theme as Wag the Dog-a president's campaign
is in jeopardy, so political advisers invoke various measures
of damage control. In Primary Colors, a Clintonesque
candidate is confronted by sex scandals but manages to distract
the public into believing that he deeply cares about human
problems. Political advisers, including the spouse of the
presidential candidate, work out a successful strategy, as
the candidate appears to want to win by any means necessary.
Once again, the film is nominated as a plea to improve the
democratic process before its crucifixion murders the memory
of candidates who present clear and sincere alternatives to
Bruno Barreto's Four Days in September is a
retelling of events of 1969, when the American ambassador
to Brazil was kidnapped by youthful, idealistic "Marxist"
guerrillas seeking to free their comrades from detention and
torture by the dictatorship ruling the country. Though the
words of the ambassador, Charles Burke Elbrick, we learn how
a career diplomat opposed the war in Vietnam as well as military
rule in Brazil and thus shared the views of his captors, who
released him when the government in Rio de Janeiro allowed
fifteen of their comrades to go to freedom in México. The
film shows how Marxists were born because of the excesses
of military rule and carries home the message that the best
hope for economic progress and political stability is the
establishment of democratic rule. The film has also been nominated
as the best film EXPOSÉ of 1998, as the story brings to light
facts that were not well known prior to the screening.
YEAR'S NOMINATED FILMS
Four Days in September, Primary
Colors, Wag the Dog
Four Days in September
Boxer, Men with Guns