Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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I watched this on the eve of Howard Zinn's death, mostly because I've seen every other Zinn-related movie that's streaming on netflix. It's fairly dated, but march 2003 was a pretty important time and I think the feeling of this moment in the history of the peace movement was encapsulated fairly well. Still, watching it now it feels like a lot of these people's observations are kinda like "no shit" statements. This is a bit unfortunate as it does feature some of the most brilliant and inspiring human beings on the planet (Desmond Tutu, I'm lookin at you, hot stuff). The lack of really substantive dialogue isn't really the film's fault though... I think it's actually symptomatic of what was going on in our world in 2003. It was a time where we had a lot of energy and enthusiasm in our efforts to resist the wars, but we never really managed to convert that enthusiasm into any kind of strategy for making our vision a reality. I suppose that much like the previous manifestations of widespread counterculture in the United States (a la the famed 1960's) it was too general a movement and it encompassed too many strains of thought to have any real tangible impact. It was a muddled time, especially for me. It was during this year that I exposed myself to a shit-ton of contradictory representations of progressive thought in an effort to make sense of it all, bouncing back and forth between literature representing every corner in the veritable shooting gallery of anti-establishment "-ism"s. It seems like people in this movie are in that same purgatory, united only by a strong sense that the war needs to end but with no way of harnessing the collective bargaining power we needed to actually end it. For those of us who knew all along that America's imperialist endeavors in the middle east were inhumane and unjust, this film, like the time it came from, fails to answer the fundamental question of what we should DO about it. It mostly plays optimistic acoustic guitar music and shows people marching. What the hell are we supposed to take from that? Peace is a process, and I have yet to see a documentary film of this nature that gets into the gritty and ugly business of actually figuring out how we can attain it. Still, this totally must have been a useful film for introducing new people into the movement during the time that it came out. It definitely conveys a feeling of excitement and a sense of urgency from a time when both were in abundance.