Reviews: Avengers: Age of Ultron and five DOXA documentaries
CINCINNATI GODDAMN: Can you get more timely than this? Just days after the Baltimore riots and with Ferguson and others still in our memories, here’s a documentary that analyzes in detail how these things happen. It’s 2001, two black men in Ohio’s third-largest city die in police custody; the black community erupts. Looting and burning tears up their neighborhood. The cops are white and their racial profiling may have been a trigger but the film goes further.
Eyewitnesses and some remarkable film clips tell exactly what happened. Roger Owensby, suspected of running from police three weeks before, was beaten. Timmy Thomas who had multiple parking tickets was shot. Community leaders and an historian try to explain. The cops weren’t familiar with black people or poor people. They were assigned to that part of town, usually at night, because they were young and without seniority. They weren’t trained for it. The neighborhood had been allowed to run down. Unemployment was high while Fortune 500 companies operated across town. There’s much more but a late comment is most telling. “There’ll be more Cincinnaties .” (Sunday afternoon at The Cinematheque; followed by a justice forum) 4 out of 5
DRONE: This is also highly topical. It was just last week that Barack Obama apologized that his drone program, aimed at terrorists, accidentally killed two hostages. In this documentary by Tonje Hessen Schei of Norway he is seen touting the “precision” and accuracy of America’s drones. But there are also people on the ground in Pakistan describing attacks that killed children and ordinary villagers. People have gotten to fear sunny days. That’s when the drones come, not on cloudy days.
A former drone operator describes sitting at his computer station in Nevada watching a man bleed to death. He figures he’s killed over 1,600 people. “Were they all bad guys?” he asks. A reporter says 100s of mistakes are made in the targeting. A former chief of staff to Colin Powell says it amounts to murder and since it’s the Air Force doing the killing for the CIA it’s probably a war crime. The film goes further and ponders the future of war when killing can be done so anonymously from far away. “An industrialized killing program” somebody calls it. Chilling thoughts and a few hard-to-watch clips make this a tough, committed statement. Sat. May 9, 2 p.m. at the Cinematheque, followed by a discussion with a local lawyer who specializes in war and human rights and a political commentator originally from Pakistan. 4 out of 5
RUNNING ON CLIMATE: Climate scientist Dr. Andrew Weaver is the first Green Party member to be elected to the B.C. legislature. This lively documentary follows just about every one of his steps to that victory two years ago. Doing a phone interview with Bill Good, the camera is with him. We see him door knocking; watching the leaders debating on TV, exuberant and ready to declare after the first poll reports on election night. And most all we get his reasons for going into politics. BC needs to revive its environmental efforts. They’re pretty well dormant right now, he suggests.