Wednesday 21 March 2012

The Corporation

I'm going to be honest: social and environmental documentaries sometimes really frustrate me, for several reasons:

Firstly, they can justify complacency. If someone sees a film about some important and urgent issue, even if they totally agree, they may well think "well, its not as though I'm in a position to do anything about it" or "somebody took the time to make a whole film about it, so there's probably someone out there who's got it under control", even when that couldn't be further from the truth.

Secondly, they can validate fiction. If you have one film-maker, selecting just one side of an argument from sources they find that are supportive of their own view, it can often distort that representation of reality to the extent that it doesn't really reflect reality whatsoever, but still looks genuine to an observer. Even some films which try to be as fair and unbiased as possible are guilty of this, and I don't condemn them for it - no one can be truly unbiased - but I do condemn those who do it intentionally, those who make no effort to be unbiased, and (by no means least) those who blindly accept (or reject) something presented to them without investigating the truth in it.

Thirdly, they can be guilty of scaremongering. Whilst I am deeply worried about the state of our planet and its inhabitants, and what the future holds in store, I am always a bit upset when I watch films that show an unnecessarily bleak picture of it. Where are the good moments? Who are the people trying to positively challenge dysfunctional systems, rather than just showing and down-treading those who have (often unintentionally) helped create them?

This is not a reason not to watch such documentaries - I put the "can" there in each of those points for a reason - the important thing is to be aware of each of them and therefore to watch any documentaries with an open mind.

The film that I want to review, however, is The Corporation, a 2003 American film about the corporation as a legal structure, and the role it has played in creating the society that we have today. This film helped me in understanding the companies that are at the core of our producerist society, and why. I also think that it is important for the creation of something better that we know what has come before, and what we are up against. New company legal structures are necessary in the near future, in my opinion, those that are more cooperative, for example, rather than overly competitive.

I'm afraid the documentary is guilty, to some extent, of all three of the above points (part of the reason I wanted to state them before suggesting this video), but it gives a good general overview of the issues that corporations create. For more details, I suggest you find yourself videos on those specific subjects.

1 comment:

  1. I know what you mean Simeon about frustration with documentaries. Films can be an excellent way to get people's interest but since the internet we are all overwhelmed with information - it is the lack of opportunity to respond with appropriate actions that frustrates people.