Axis of Evil: Perforated Praeter Naturam
James Barnhart, Jane Bohman, James J. Brask, Bernardine Dohrn, Daniel Ellsberg
2004, 84 min
AXIS OF EVIL is a powerful new documentary that asks a very fundamental question: What is evil? Interviews with 16 journalists, artists, scholars, and activists explore the concept of evil and how it has been used to justify political and military actions throughout the world. As the viewer will see, traditional “black and white” concepts of good vs. evil must be readdressed in an increasingly complex world. Against a backdrop of potent stamp art by 54 artists from 11 countries, the film challenges the mind and stirs emotions. At a time when governments distort the truth with empty rhetoric and flagrant manipulation of the media, the need for voices like those in AXIS OF EVIL becomes only greater.
The Big Guy: Tom Delay’s Stolen Congress
Mark Birnbraum and Jim Schermbeck
2006, 60 min
Brave New Films – http://tomdelaymovie.com/trailer.php
In a stunning 1994 interview, shortly after the now infamous Republican revolution, Tom DeLay sat down and laid out his vision for America: to destroy the Department of Education, HUD, OSHA, the NEH, the NEA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. His self-stated goal was to “completely redesign government.”
The Big Buy: Tom DeLay’s Stolen Congress is the story of how he did just that. It’s the story of one of the most blatant power grabs in American history, and how a District Attorney in Texas turned out to be the biggest threat to the national DeLay Machine. The film is a warning about how easy it is for American democracy to be hijacked by a combination of relentless ambition and corporate millions. It makes the case that DeLay built a “custom-made Congress” that is still providing votes for his agenda.
DeLay’s utter contempt for government made him a favorite of corporations. Over the next decade, they funded DeLay’s rise to power with millions while wining, dining, and bank rolling an extravagant lifestyle complete with corporate jets, expensive restaurants and stays at plush golf resorts.
But Travis county D.A. Ronnie Earle is on his heels, and DeLay’s made a mistake. He blatantly funneled banned corporate money to candidates in the 2002 Texas elections. This was the critical first phase of a take-no-prisoners plan to ensure a more hard-Right Republican U.S. Congress. DeLay’s actions led to controversial redistricting in Texas that disenfranchised voters, set-off the largest upheaval in modern Texas political history and sent five new hard-Right Republican congressmen to Washington.
Texas grand juries have brought 41 indictments against eight corporations, DeLay’s political action committee, a business lobby ally, three underlings and Tom Delay himself. But while Delay has given up his leadership post, his Texas takeover is still impacting all Americans daily. His Texas redistricting changed the face of the last Congress. The Central American Free Trade Agreement, the Energy Bill, Budgets and Budget Cuts that hurt college students, single parents and the working poor — all passed in the last 14 months by less than the five votes DeLay won from his scheme in Texas. From now until the November elections- The Big Buy is destined to serve as a rallying cry for those who want to change “the house that Tom built” back into “the people’s house.”
The Big Buy is a feature length documentary that connects the dots between big money and big government. It’s not a pretty picture.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-Corr
75th Anniversary edition
1939, 2h 10 mins
When the idealistic young Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) winds up appointed to the United States Senate, he gains the mentorship of Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains). However, Paine isn’t as noble as his reputation would indicate, and he becomes involved in a scheme to discredit Smith, who wants to build a boys’ campsite where a more lucrative project could go. Determined to stand up against Paine and his corrupt peers, Smith takes his case to the Senate floor.
Resources for Teachers for use with this film
Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism
2004, 77 min
Examines how media empires, led by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, have been running a “race to the bottom” in television news. This film provides an in-depth look at Fox News and the dangers of ever-enlarging corporations taking control of the public’s right to know.
The film explores Murdoch’s burgeoning kingdom and the impact on society when a broad swath of media is controlled by one person.
Media experts, including Jeff Cohen (FAIR) Bob McChesney (Free Press), Chellie Pingree (Common Cause), Jeff Chester (Center for Digital Democracy) and David Brock (Media Matters) provide context and guidance for the story of Fox News and its effect on society.
This documentary also reveals the secrets of Former Fox news producers, reporters, bookers and writers who expose what it’s like to work for Fox News. These former Fox employees talk about how they were forced to push a “right-wing” point of view or risk their jobs. Some have even chosen to remain anonymous in order to protect their current livelihoods. As one employee said “There’s no sense of integrity as far as having a line that can’t be crossed.
The Trials of Henry Kissinger
Alex Gibney and Eugene Jarecki
2002, 80 min
Thank Tank/Jigsaw Productions – http://www.thetrialsofhenrykissinger.com/trials.html
Based on the Christopher Hitchens book, this documentary focuses on whether former presidential advisor Henry Kissinger is a war criminal for his role in international events.