Howard Zinn - You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train (2004)
Directed by Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller, Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train offers a retrospective on the life and times of Howard Zinn. Activist, best-selling author, and historian, Zinn is considered the catalyst for some of the most notable progressive movements of the past 60 years. Noam Chomsky, who claims that Zinn "changed the consciousness of a generation," is featured in several interviews, along with Marian Wright Edelman, Alice Walker, Tom Hayden, Daniel Ellsberg, and Zinn himself. The documentary also features rare archival footage. … More
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Critic Reviews for Howard Zinn - You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train
A provocative documentary on a life that could easily be described as a moving train.
Finally, a documentary about one of America's most important academics.
Leads us on a journey through some of the major historical events of the 20th century, revealing Zinn to be far more than simply an activist version of Zelig.
Loaded with fantastic old footage and photographs of the Vietnam War, of the American civil rights movement and of Zinn's own family.
A thinker and an educator, Zinn has led a life of commitment and compassion, and the film offers a loving tribute.
His simple message -- that history is not made by the few but by the struggles of the many -- isn't out of line with typical Marxist teachings, but Zinn has always found a way to make it fresh.
a spare but dazzling portrait of a unique man and soulful progressive
'Compassion' is a word the man himself uses a lot, and it's what makes the film so invigorating. Ending the movie with eloquent words about how to live a hopeful life, he is 82 and he continues to fight for what he believes in.
They generally sit back and let the genial, even cheerful Zinn tell his story.
The sparkle of Zinn, who as a liberal toiling for decades for the common man yet seeing so many of them continue to vote instead for the side that wishes them such ill might be expected to have become embittered, remains as bright and infectious as ever.
An example of film editing at its finest: Ellis and Mueller combine archival footage, contemporary interviews, voice-over narration (by Matt Damon) based on Zinn's writing, and music with a skill that can only be borne of thoughtful contemplation.
It's an excellent introduction to a man whose thoughts on war, peace and dissent have become increasingly influential in ever more confusing times.
A nice companion piece to Fahrenheit 9/11, this moving Train will only feed the country's election-year interest in politics.
Audience Reviews for Howard Zinn - You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train
[font=Century Gothic]"Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train" is an inspiring documentary about the respected historian, activist and occasional playwright, Howard Zinn. A bombing run towards the end of World War II changed his thinking towards war and he started thinking about how to achieve social justice without resorting to violence.(Zinn's philosophy of pacifism is not a passive one and he believes in the practice of civil disobedience.) Later on, after he became a professor, he was deeply involved in the civil rights and antiwar movements, up to the present day when activism is at its most necessary, sometimes to the detriment of his own career. [/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Zinn teaches the history of average people who have made a difference and continue to do so everyday, not the government which is often in conflict with its own people.(He is best known for writing "The People's History of the United States" which I have not yet read.) Zinn believes that education need not be entirely confined to classrooms but also on the streets where students can make a difference.[/font]
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