REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM is the definitive discourse with Noam Chomsky, on the defining characteristic of our time - the deliberate concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a... See full summary »
I just caught this film at the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival, and I'm glad I did, because the film was one of the most informative and, quite frankly, entertaining documentaries I've seen via the Festival, and most of the credit for that goes directly to the film's "star" Robert Reich.
Reich is a charming and personable individual who is obviously passionate about the sorry economic state of the middle class. He presents facts and reviews history (assisted through some terrific graphics) to make his case that a strong middle class is the bulwark upon which a thriving upper class must balance. Most importantly, this middle class is made weaker by the disparity in incomes and by a tax system that seems to reward "job creators" who don't really create a single damn job or, at best, create jobs overseas.
The issues are pretty damn complex, but Reich and Kornbluth do an excellent job of laying out their interpretations in a simple, forthright manner.
At the Q&A following the film, I asked Kornbluth and Reich if they felt any need to "balance" the film with alternate economic takes on the same facts. The film trots out the usual cartoonish Fox News critics, but I wondered if they thought about heading off the sure-to-come criticism that the film is too one-sided and doesn't present any intelligent alternate viewpoints. While Reich just shook his head "no" (one gets the impression he feels he isn't wrong so why bother,) Kornbluth responded that questions like mine ticked him off, as "there always doesn't have to be two sides to a story." He compared it to the issue of evolution and "intelligent design". Just as intelligent design's complete lack of factual basis has no business in a documentary about evolution, he felt the economic facts presented are facts and they were presented accurately in his film.
This film is a terrific pairing of a passionate filmmaker with a passionate advocate for the working class of this nation. Recommended viewing for anyone with a stake in our country's economic survival - regardless of political affiliation. That means everyone. That means you.
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