February 12, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 74  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

The Corporation is psychotic


The Corporation
Written by: Joel Bakan
Directed by: Jennifer Abbott and Mark Achbar

By Maggie Wrobel
Gazette Staff

Nancy Bleck/2003
SHUT YO’ MOUTH! Everything’s for sale in the world of The Corporation, the new No Logo of documentaries by the makers of Manufacturing Consent.

When controversial left-wing documentary maker Michael Moore won the Academy Award for his film Bowling for Columbine last year, he achieved several feats. Unfortunately, one of those achievements was that every documentary feature with the slightest inkling of a leftist mentality would be compared to Moore’s film.

Rest assured The Corporation is not Bowling for Corporations, but instead a slick and earnest look at the way corporations function in our society.

Based on the notion that an “odd legal fiction” exists in today’s society, which suggests a corporation has the same rights as a person, the film is essentially a visual essay that offers a variety of viewpoints on this issue.

The bravest thing about The Corporation is that its creators Achbar, Abbott and Bakan allow the people behind the corporations to speak for themselves. There are no leading questions, no tongue-in-cheek mockery; just a smooth-voiced narrator declaring the facts and commentaries by a variety of media and corporate personalities.

Aforementioned author and director Michael Moore appears in the film, along with left-wing luminaries Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky. Although their star power and wisdom is undeniable, other people stand out even more than these established political celebrities.

Various CEOs appear and give testimonials about the way they perceive their roles in the corporate landscape and how they think this landscape is shaping the world as a whole.

Overall, the film is effective in conveying its message without being overtly preachy. It raises questions about the necessity of corporate reform and uses interesting and revealing anecdotes

Last Friday, Achbar made a special appearance at the Wellington 8 cinema to celebrate the film’s London opening.

Achbar, whose impressive filmmaking resume also includes the renowned Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, which is the top-grossing documentary feature in Canadian history, introduced the film and stayed afterwards to answer audience members’ questions.

“We don’t have a gazillion dollar advertising budget,” he explained when asked why he was making a personal appearance. “It’s important not only because I like to connect with people who are interested in what we’re doing, but also because I want to get as many people as possible to come see the film.”

Achbar also revealed that Richard Ivey School of Business professor Tima Bansal has contacted him and was interested in putting together a study guide to go with the film. He said he hopes to eventually see the film added to high school and university curriculums.

“It would be great to get [members of Parliament] to see it,” he enthused. “I’ve been thinking about sending them all copies.”

Catch The Corporation during its current run at the Wellington 8 cinema and read more online at the official Corporation website, www.thecorporation.com..

 

 

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