Chicago 10

The Democratic National Convention was held last week up in Denver and the Republican National Convention is being held in my backyard, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, as I am writing this review.  There were some non-credible threats on Obama at Denver and there were some decent small-scale riots and arrests on the first day here in Minnesota.  I had planned on doing some protesting, but I just bought a new bicycle, so I’m all about trying out my 2008 Trek 520 rather than standing next to people who don’t shower.  Conventions are normally staid and boring affairs, but the Democratic National Convention of 1968 was the wildest thing to ever happen in the whole Midwest.  The craziest thing which came out of that convention was not more LBJ, it was the trial of the Chicago 10.  Now there is a new film out which takes a look inside the fascinating story of those ten brave lawyers and defendants.

Starting this August 26th, now available on DVD from Participant Productions and Paramount Studios Home Entertainment comes a groundbreaking look at one of the pivotal trials of the Vietnam Era.  Chicago 10 is ready to storm into your living room and remind you of times when people were passionate in the face of mass governmental failures and not merely helping enable their captors.  Bring home this fantastic film today!

This film, which is a fascinating mixture of archival footage and animated reimagining of the trial of the Chicago 10 using the infamous court transcripts, features a number of Hollywood stars.  The vocal talents of Hank Azaria, Dylan Baker, Nick Nolte, Mark Ruffalo, Roy Scheider, Live Schreiber, Jeffrey Wright and the directing talents of Brett Morgen are all put to good use in this film.  This film is all about the 68 DNC in Chicago, when there were riots and protests galore.  Ten people, eight defendants and two lawyers, were involved in the trial of the century for inciting people to riot, even though some of them were not even there and all were on the record as being peaceful and opposing the rioting.  The federal judge and US Attorney were clearly biased against the defendants and the court transcripts make up the sole interesting document to ever come out of the US court system.  This film is a damning look back at just how divided our nation was and how we treated those who were in the right.

The special features included in this DVD are the winning remix trailer made from footage of the film and a selection of previews for other films being released by Participant Productions.

This film was beyond fantastic.  The 68 Convention was a watershed moment in the history of activism and freedom in America.  Had this trial gone differently, we could be living in a drastically different present.  There should be more protests like this right now.  Why not?  Don’t we care about the environment, the illegal war in Iraq, the fact that we hardly have any civil liberties left?  The Bush Administration has stripped us of nearly everything but our bodies, so what better to sacrifice to make a point?  What this film really shows is that, when push comes to shove, we are all living in a police state.  Our civil liberties are always hanging by the thinnest of threads and we must do all we can to protect those rights.

This film is a perfect 10.

This DVD is available at Amazon.com.

Nathaniel Jonet

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