In 1974, a teenage newspaper heiress and Berkeley undergrad was kidnapped at gunpoint from her apartment, setting off one of the most bizarre episodes in recent history. The kidnappers, completely off the map before Patty Hearst disappeared into the San Francisco night, were a small band of young, ferociously militant political radicals, dedicated to the rights of prisoners and the working class. They called themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army. Over the course of about three years they robbed banks, senselessly killed two innocent people, instigated a firefight after attempting to shoplift a pair of socks, and, most famously, converted their hostage and victim. They also achieved an undeniably visionary manipulation of the media, inciting perhaps the first modern media frenzy. Presenting resonating questions about the role of the media in America--mouthpiece? Messenger? Truth seeker? --The ethical dilemmas posed by new technologies, and the proximity of madness to political ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
If this is the same movie directed by Robert Stone and which I saw at the Seattle Int'l Film Festival today then I would have to say it was quite dull in places and in need of some editing. While it got across the interesting spectacle Patty Hearst made at the time - rich girl turned radical rebel ostensibly for the people - I would have liked to have seen more in-depth profiles of all involved prior to hearing them talk - of Patty, her parents, their relationship, the backgrounds of the other members of the party, etc. Too much of this film's information was just a dry re-telling of the news, and a dry outline of how the event affected the evolution of reporting and FBI investigative reporting. It's a fascinating and timely topic - in that today again we are faced with a conservative government and a growing rebellion against it complete with terrorist activity, only on a global instead of just domestic scale, but this documentary falls sadly short of portraying the events that unfolded in any particularly interesting or involving way. There's got to be a better documentary out there on this subject. Can anyone recommend any?
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