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Investigation of a Flame (2003)

On May 17, 1968, three Catholic priests, a nurse, an artist and four others walked into a Catonsville, Maryland draft board office, grabbed hundreds of selective service records and burned ... See full summary »

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Daniel Berrigan ...
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David Darst ...
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John Hogan ...
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Tom Lewis ...
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Marjorie Melville ...
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Tom Melville ...
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George Mische ...
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On May 17, 1968, three Catholic priests, a nurse, an artist and four others walked into a Catonsville, Maryland draft board office, grabbed hundreds of selective service records and burned them with homemade napalm. Their poetic act of civil disobedience helped galvanize an increasingly disillusioned American public against the Vietnam War. Investigation of a Flame is an intimate look at this Sixties protest within our current times, when foes of Middle East peace, abortion, and technology resort to violence to access the public imagination. Lynne Sachs combines volatile, long-unseen, archival footage with interviews with Daniel and Philip Berrigan and other members of the Catonsville Nine, encouraging viewers to ponder the relevance of civil disobedience and the implications of personal sacrifice today. Written by Lynne Sachs

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29 March 2003 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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A Lesson For Today As Well
25 May 2004 | by (Austin, TX) – See all my reviews

I had the privilege of meeting Daniel Berrigan, one of the Catonsville 9, when he returned to speak at my alma mater, LeMoyne College in Syracuse NY, where he had taught in the 60s.

I was struck by how profoundly peaceful a man he was, and this is key to understanding the civil disobedience in which he, his brother Philip and others participated during the Vietnam War. On the surface, this film chronicles the events leading to and the motivations of the participants in the burning of Selective Service records in Catonsville, MD in 1968, but it is more about what we can all do to speak out against injustice.

These 9 individuals DID something about the war in Vietnam; Catholics all, they helped to wake the faithful throughout America, inspired by the liberation theology typified by Pope John 23rd, who had convened the second Vatican Council before his death in 1963. The Nine fueled a debate with homemade napalm poured on draft records outside an office, and by sacrificing their freedom. All were sentenced to Federal Prison for their actions.

There is a lesson in this film for all of us, especially today. Seek this out--the Sundance Channel is running it--and invest 45 minutes in a lesson for our time.


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