Movie InfoTwo young women travel across the country in an old Saab armed with Hi-8 cameras, experience as Hollywood production assistants and a strong desire to capture the true character and spirit of the American people. Their journey leads Kristin Hahn and Shainee Gabel to interview a wide variety of people ranging from cultural and generational icons such as journalist Hunter S. Thompson to author Studs Terkel to actor/filmmaker Robert Redford to politicians Christine Ferrari and George McGovern to ordinary citizens, including a young gas station attendant, an aging waitress to local historians. As they progress, the woman discover that despite many modern problems, the optimistic American spirit is still alive. Other celebrities interviewed include U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, independent filmmaker John Waters, country singer Willie Nelson, rap artist Chuck D.., rock singer Michael Stipe, and Native American activist and spokesperson Winona LaDuke. … More
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Critic Reviews for Anthem
Gabel and Hahn, whose thoughtful and frequently amusing commentary carries us through thousands of miles of interstate and more motels than Frank Zappa ever imagined, are guided by John Steinbeck's wisdom that you don't take a trip, but the trip takes you
This is a documentary that could easily have been overly self-indulgent or fashionably irreverent but instead appeals to one's intelligence and provides glimpses of a dynamic country cruising peacefully toward the millennium.
It's enjoyable precisely because Hahn and Gabel give us both sides of the experience: the interviewer and interviewee. Though there's an undercurrent of melancholy, Anthem is a bright ride, a welcome shot of 60's optimism in a gray post-modern age.
The delightful, sometimes humorous yet thoughtful result of [Gabel's and Hahn's] efforts is Anthem, in which they talk to nearly 30 people, some famous, some obscure, to find out what's on their minds.
The film has the invitingly earnest feel of a Charles Kuralt feature, bringing you into the living rooms, kitchens and cars of some very unlikely heroes.
While Anthem may not offer any genuine insight into the future of America, Gabel and Hahn at least prove that the can-do spirit has not been completely lost to cynicism and the cult of celebrity.
This is a funny and immensely thought-provoking documentary that is a testament to just how far a pair of enthusiastic young filmmakers can go with pluck and gall.
Many themes emerge -- equality, justice, freedom, environmental crisis -- but weaving them into cogent insights is beyond the adventurers.
The great (and pleasant) surprise of Anthem is how satisfying a documentary it is and how the observations about America's direction in the new century are clairvoyant rather than stale.
Far too often these days, documentary filmmakers try to push their own political agendas on audiences by ridiculing those who have different views from their own. Happily, that's not the case with Anthem.
It could use about a half hour cut from it, but still highly entertaining.
Anthem stands as a unique testament to the vigor and scope of the American way of life; this is the rare kind of film that should be placed in a time capsule for future generations so they might have a better appreciation of our moment in history.
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