Friday, November 8, 2019

Fred Peabody's THE CORPORATE COUP D'ÉTAT makes home video debut on DVD and VOD

If only the noted documentary filmmaker Fred Peabody had stuck more closely to his titular theme of THE CORPORATE COUP D'ÉTAT, this 2018 documentary might have been a more important contribution to the field. As it is, the film mostly tells us what we've already known from countless other docs and/or from simply paying attention to the news: that corporate power has taken control of the political process in the USA (and, for that mater, throughout much of the rest of the world).

Mr. Peabody, shown at left, begins with an interview with philosopher John Ralston Saul (shown at bottom of post) who first warned us of this takeover a quarter century ago.

From there we move to historians, economists and current journalists such as Lee Fang and Matt Taibbi who are trying to keep us abreast of the continuing sellout of our government to corporations and their lobbyists.

Watching Mr. Fang follow one of those politicians down a hall and around corners, trying his best to get her to answer even a single simple question is to experience such frustration and anger that you may come close to having your very own mini-explosion. (That's writer/activist Maude Barlow, below)

The documentary's biggest problem crops up when it gets to the subject of Donald Trump. Granted, that's when practically any and every problem -- country-wise, climate-wise, economy-wise, you name it -- crops up. And while uber-twat Trump would indeed seem the expected outcome of greed and inequality on a scale not seen since the Gilded Age, do we really need to spend so much time having those who voted for this congenital liar explain why they did so? We've read and/or heard all this before, and it seems less germane here than sticking to the original subject would have been .

On the plus side, journalist/activist Chris Hedges  (above, left) and philosopher/activist Cornell West (not shown) both seem more toned down but as intelligent as ever. Hedges takes us to what are called "sacrifice zones" -- places such as Camden, New Jersey, that capitalism has destroyed for profit -- and the view is appalling.

We meet an angry, well-spoken homeless woman (above) who fills us in on hers and her husband's history, view snippets of the 1976 Chayefsky/Lumet movie, Network (also corporation-prescient), and hear Mr West opine that "We're a prisoner of hope," even as he explains that "There's a Donald Trump inside every American. But I also hope and pray that there's a Martin Luther King inside them, too." Amen to that.

Even if half of this documentary seems too far off-subject, what's there is still plenty interesting. And it'll leave you feeling that investigative journalists like Lee Fang are major assets to our crumbling democracy. From First Run Features and lasting just 90 minutes, The Corporate Coup d'État hits the street on DVD and VOD this coming Tuesday, November 12 -- for purchase and (I hope) rental.

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