ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Free Trade is Killing My Mother: a documentary
By Graham Thomas
With a Starbucks coffee in one hand and the anti-globalization bible No Logo
in the other, Toronto journalist and filmmaker Jamie Kastner set out to join
the protest at the Summit of the Americas in spring 2001.
Embarking on the drive from Toronto to Quebec City with his friend Guy O’Sullivan,
Free Trade Is Killing My Mother follows these “revolutionary-virgins” as
they think about the “carnival against capitalism.” During the
drive, they converse over the infectious roaring of their “heartbeat
of America” Chrysler and the terrible road-noise caused by their Firestone
Firehawk PV41’s — both of which qualify as multinational companies.
The documentary captures the hardships, sacrifices and intentions of all the
Summit of the Americas protestors. In pursuit of accomplishing such a task,
Kastner and crew essentially eat, sleep and bleed protesting for their few
days in Quebec City to offer a view of the demonstrators’ plight.
Kastner accomplishes this goal surprisingly well, sleeping in designated shelter
areas, showering amongst “comrades” and even enduring the pain
of tear gas for his cause. This documentary is fairly straightforward, steering
clear of a great deal of bias, but it seems inevitable in avoiding the stereotype
of “hippy” protestors.
Referred to as “anarchists, pseudo-Marxists and new age troublemakers,” the
demonstrators show no concern for the country, state or even themselves. Shrugging
off six-figure expenses incurred by the provincial government because of such
a demonstration, one enthused protestor proclaimed, “It’s a blast
man, it’s a trip.”
Kastner wraps things up by rehashing the concerns of protestors in comparison
to the opposition, and citing the concerns and considerations of involved non-political
symbols such as Naomi Klein (author of No Logo).
One particular protestor’s comment stood out amongst the rest, proclaiming
the solution to the root of the problem: “If everybody in the world was
like all these people here, we’d have no reason to protest, no reason
for poverty, no reason for taxes, no reason for people not getting education
they rightfully deserve.”
Didn’t Stalin already try that in the ’30s?
Free Trade Is Killing My Mother airs tonight at 10 p.m. on TVO.