Sunday, March 23, 2008

New movie recreates 68--in stop-motion animation!

There is no escape. Post fillum critic Lisa Kennedy on the, yes, stop-motion retelling of the trial of the Chicago 7, Chicago 10:
For those in Denver hankering for (or fearing) a repeat of the debacle that occurred 40 years ago [at the Democratic National Convention], "Chicago 10" should be seen as a cautionary tale.

The actual trial was of the Chicago Seven: Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines and Lee Weiner. The inflated number comes from an assertion Rubin made that Bobby Seale should be included (though the Black Panther co-founder's case was split off), and that attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass should be counted too. After all, they were sentenced for contempt of court.

The stop-motion animation used to re-create the trial (courtesy of Curious Pictures) recalls the pop muscularity of Howard Chaykin's indelible "American Flagg!" comics.

Agile cuts from color to black-and-white archival footage of clashes in the streets to telling news reports and back prove yet again that talking heads and voice-over are not narrative necessities for nonfiction film.

A car driven by a woman with a bouffant surrounded by National Guardsmen with bayonets drawn is intercut with footage of poet Allen Ginsberg leading a chant. Later, a female shriek pierces the crowd murmur to signal something far uglier is underway.
Uglier than Allen Ginsberg leading a chant? This I gotta not see.
But "Chicago 10" is a flawed beauty rife with regret and nostalgia. The regret may be Morgen's. The maker of the lauded documentary "The Kid Stays in the Picture," about producer Robert Evans, was born in 1968. The nostalgia likely belongs to his producer, Graydon Carter, 58-year-old editor of Vanity Fair magazine. When the U.S. bombed Afghanistan, the two commiserated on the lack of the vociferous, multitudinous youth-led war protests of the Vietnam years.
Meeting Spagnoodles and Recrea!te68 would cure that bit of nostalgie de la boue in a hurry.

Kennedy manages several good (bad) lines:

If absurdism were a person, "Chicago 10" would be his biopic. . . .

Hayden, Davis and especially Dellinger come across in the news footage as adults working for change. . . .

But Hoffman (Azaria) and Rubin (Ruffalo) are Morgen's impish stars.

(Again the myth that Abbie Hoffman had a sense of humor.) And the stupidest sentence of the week:
What could be more irony-laden than Judge Julius Hoffman (voiced by the late Roy Scheider) presiding over a trial starring Abbie Hoffman?
If you don't actually know what the word "irony" means, nothing.

Update: "Official' trailer for Chicago 10; Seale v. Hoffman.

Update II: That's not stop-motion animation, is it? Looks more like a Saturday morning cartoon.

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