Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Corporation (2003)

Title of the Movie : The Corporation (2003)
Director : Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott
Script : Joel Bakan based on the book "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power" by Bakan.
Running time : 145 minutes
Camera (color, Digital Betacam)
Production : A Big Picture Media Corp. production in association with TV Ontario, Vision TV, Knowledge Network, Saskatchewan Communications Network and ACCESS the Education Station.
With : Jane Akre, Ray Anderson, Joe Badaracco, Maude Barlow, Mark Barry, Elain Bernard, Edwin Black, Carlton Brown, Noam Chomsky, Chris Barrett, Luke McCabe, Peter Drucker, Dr. Samuel Epstein, Andrea Finger, Milton Friedman, Sam Gibara, Richard Grossman, Dr. Robert Hare, Gabriel Herbas, Lucy Hughes, Ira Jackson, Charles Kernaghan, Robert Keyes, Mark Kingwell, Naomi Klein, Tom Kline, Chris Komisarjevsky, Dr. Susan Linn, Robert Monks, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Michael Moore, Oscar Olivera, Jonathon Ressler, Jeremy Rifkin, Anita Roddick, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Clay Timon, Michael Walker, Robert Weissman, Steve Wilson, Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Mary Zepernick, Howard Zinn; narrator, Mikela J. Mikael.

The Corporation looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance. In just recent years, as part of globalization phenomenon, corporations are becoming the dominant parties in terms of economic, social, politic, and culture.
By now, world is dominated by business corporation model that is legally a person. The film is divided to some parts. First part investigates the corporation as a person. The U.S. Supreme Court so ruled, in a decision based, bizarrely, on the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. That was the one that guaranteed former slaves equal rights. The court ruling meant corporations were given the rights of individuals in our society. They are free at last.
If Monsanto and Shell and Enron are indeed people, what kind of people are they? In the second part, the movie asks Robert Hare, a consultant who helps the FBI profile its suspects. His diagnosis: Corporations by definition have a personality disorder and can be categorized as psychopathic. That is because they single-mindedly pursue their own wills and desires without any consideration for other people (or corporations) and without reference to conventional morality. They don't act that way to be evil; it's just, that it's in their nature.
The movie assembles a laundry list of corporate sins in third part. These sins are environmental disaster, paying low for workers, Bovine Growth Hormone, Agent Orange, marketing research on how to inspire children to nag their parents to buy products, etc. The movie interviewed many peoples from different backgrounds, talking about their concern of corporation,like Noam Chomsky from MIT, Annita Roddick from Body Shop and Shell’s executives.
Bringing tons of materials, Achbar shifts images, with each "box" repping a subthesis ("Planet Inc.," "The Price of Whistleblowing," etc.). Most impudent device stringing all this together is the ongoing graphic of a "Personality Diagnostic Checklist" that equates corporate "serial behaviors" -- lying, manipulation, inability to relate to others' concerns -- with that of an antisocial, psychopathic individual
The movie is like a package that is once overwhelming, sharp-eyed and consistently engaging. The filmmakers use talking-head interviews, salted with heady mix of news telecasts, breaking event footage, computer graphics and much archival arcana. Latter includes vintage commercials, industrial training reels and propagandistic "soft news" plants, rendering pic a delightfully ironic "That's Entertainment!" for corporate "perception management" through the last century.
In some way, this movie is fascinating. The filmmaker seems trying everyway to make this long movie is not boring. In this case, Achbar succeeds on answering the challenge of filmmaking: how to make the coherent, fascinating, inspiring and true to the fact movie based on tons of material. I think it’s always been the challenge of all documentarian. How to deal with ‘reality’? How to present certain phenomenon that’s so ordinary for most of us?
Globalization as recent phenomenon is often claimed as corporate imperialism. Globalization/internationalisation has become identified with a number of trends, like commercialization, cultural homogenization, and hegemony of first world countries toward third world countries.
While attending his film screening in Jakarta last year, he emphasized his opinion that globalization is merely a process of corporate’s domination. He proposed that corporation as one of new institution has changed church in way that corporation takes so many live and public good to feed their own interest. The globalization has been widespread and the one who should laundry all its impact is third world countries, the poorest of the poor. In some critical points, globalization is mere the continuity of the last century imperialism where few white rich people dominate most of the multiculture and multi race people.
But globalization is social and unavoiding phenomena. So the movement to make globalization fair is challenge that both public and private sector should deal with it.
And Achbar offers his film as a question that all we should answer.
*proposed by Veronica Kusumaryati (1060152045)/Film studies/IKJ

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