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1 item from 2000

Film Review: 'Rebels With a Cause'

15 November 2000 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

At a time when grannies with walkers are protesting in Florida, Helen Garvey's documentary tracing the rise and fall of the '60s-era Students for a Democratic Society takes on a particular resonance.

The film traces the decade-long history of SDS, which started as a small student organization inspired by the civil rights struggles and became one of the leading forces in the anti-

Vietnam War movement, with more than 100,000 members, before disbanding in 1971. The film is receiving its New York theatrical premiere at the Screening Room.

Garvey was one of the leaders of SDS, so it comes as no surprise that her filmed account takes a fairly single-minded, positive approach to the organization. The film is best viewed as an oral history featuring interviews with about 20 pivotal and not-so-pivotal former members of the group; little is heard in the way of dissenting or outsider opinions.

Among those spotlighted are California state Sen. Tom Hayden, D-Los Angeles; former SDS presidents Alan Haber and Carl Oglesby; Bernadine Dohrn, who later joined the Weathermen, the group's militant and violent faction; and journalists Todd Gitlin and Juan Gonzalez.

The film is strictly of the talking heads variety, albeit with highly articulate, passionate ones. There is only the occasional use of archival photos and little film footage of the dramatic events discussed. The result is a static, talky effort that will be of more interest to scholars and historians than general audiences.


Zeitgeist Films

Director-producer-editor: Helen Garvey

Director of photography: Emiko Omori


Running time - 110 minutes

No MPAA rating


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1 item from 2000

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