Friday, June 18, 2010

DVDebut: COLLAPSE -- watch this documentary and feel your scrotum tighten

That headline is directed, of course, at us guys. Women may be less effected by this unusual film only because many of them, being perhaps both more rational and more concerned and in-tune with what really matters, have come to similar withering conclusions about America's government and the current course of our country (and the rest of the world) as have the film's director (Chris Smith, shown below) and his subject/star, Michael Ruppert. The latter is one fascinating fellow (he comes from a family that has served the USA for decades) who was formerly a police officer in the L.A.P.D. until he renounced that career, after seeing way too much corruption around him locally, nationally, worldwide.  He's become a journalist/reporter/writer and a gadfly to our mainstream media, which he generally detests for its inability to do more than
parrot the party line.

Via his own newsletter that went out to his subscriber base, Ruppert predicted the current economic collapse long before it came to pass -- rather pointedly, too, with specific details (many of them on-the-mark) and timetable (off, by a little). Now, documentary and narrative filmmaker Smith (American Movie, The Yes Men, The Pool) has had a little sit-down chat with Ruppert, the result of which is called COLLAPSE, a film that should hold you riveted from pretty much its first moment through the last.  Once you've seen the documentary, you'll want to watch the DVD bonus feature "update," as well -- which takes you through the end of 2009.  All told, the film and that "update" comprise approximately 95 minutes.  It's brief time well (if frighteningly) spent.  And you may want to read Ruppert's book, on which the film is based, too.

Ruppert, shown above, does not appear to be the kind of guy who plays games.  If there's a distinct note of told-you-so pride in his presentation, well, why not?  He did tell us, and continues to tell us, although, "I don't debate any longer," he explains.  Indeed, there's no point.  This man is not just smart; he's educated and continually learning, and so it is very difficult to nay-say him on any point that I could find in his presentation -- from why our economy collapsed to how groups of families and friends may fare better in the trying times to come than will "rugged individualists."

Mr. Smith clearly likes Mr. Ruppert and is a fan (so, now, am I, as I suspect you will be, after viewing the film), and he simply holds his camera on his subject and lets the guy speak -- about history (his own and his country's), economics, credit, debt and more -- all of which Ruppert makes clear, if not simple. I know that there is so much to watch out there in movieland (hell, I'm usually giving you at least five films to see each week), and yes, we all love to be entertained.  But trust me here: Collapse is immensely entertaining -- if the acts of concentrating, thinking, connecting and learning can be considered entertainment.  I believe they can.  In fact, our brain actually craves this kind of thing, which we don't give it often enough.

There is even a moment in this unusual film in which Ruppert begins to choke up and must stop, briefly.  Is this to do with loss, perhaps of family?  We are not told.  But the moment makes the man, for all his knowledge and strength, quite human.  (In the "Bonus update," we learn he's a musician, too.)  I'd like to meet him someday -- if we're around long enough.

After a limited theatrical release, Collapse appeared on DVD this past Tuesday and is available now for sale or rental.

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