Monthly Archives: May 2012

How Violent are You?

What makes ordinary people commit extreme acts of violence?

In a thought-provoking and disturbing journey, Michael Portillo investigates one of the darker sides of human nature. He discovers what it is like to inflict pain and is driven to the edge of violence himself in an extreme sleep deprivation study.

He meets men for whom violence has become an addiction and ultimately discovers that each of us could be inherently more violent than we think, and watches a replication of one of the most controversial studies in history, the Milgram study. Will study participants be willing to administer a seemingly lethal electric shock to someone they think is an innocent bystander?

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Louis Theroux- Ultra Zionists

If ever there was a troubled subject that could be opened up by Louis Theroux’s brilliant brand of Gonzo journalism, then it is the acrimonious dispute between Jewish settlers and the Palestinian people of the West Bank.

Obviously acrimonious doesn’t quite cover it, but there’s enough web space devoted to that subject to stop a squadron of Israeli tanks. Louis’ disarming style of reporting might be cleverly confrontational, but as always his goal is to get to the real stories behind all the religious fanaticism – and he’s good at it.

Anyone who has any interest in the incendiary subject matter will be prepared for the spoutings of the Ultra-Zionists mentioned in the title. Some of them are rather sombre, but you can tell that even the most reasonable among them (or those conscious enough to understand the power of a television camera) are quietly steeled by a cold and unshakable determination that God has chosen their people.

Of course others work themselves into a frenzy as they talk to Theroux and they seem all the more crazier standing next to Louis as he works his trademark affability to great effect. As questioning methods go, it’s pretty impressive. Not quite as impressive as the arm on some of the Palestinian kids though, one lad picks out Israeli soldiers with ease from at least 50 metres…

As the programme progresses, there are a couple of themes that keep coming up. First of all, there are a staggering amount of American accents to be heard amongst the Zionists that Louis encounters, from both the residents and tourists alike.

The intertwining of Jewish and American culture is famous (just ask Mel Gibson’s local bartender) but we see groups of American tourists arriving in trouble hotspots by the bus-load. The pilgrims claim their presence is ideological and not political.

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I AM

I AM is a 2011 documentary film written, narrated, and directed by Tom Shadyac. The documentary explores Shadyac’s personal journey after a 2007 bicycle accident, “the nature of humanity” and “world’s ever-growing addiction to materialism.” The film, shot with Shadyac and a team of four, contrasts sharply with Shadyac’s previous comedic work.

Shadyac had suffered post-concussion syndrome after a 2007 bicycle accident in Virginia, experiencing months of acute headaches and hyper-sensitivity to light and noise. The injury followed the cumulative effects of previous mild head injuries Shadyac had suffered surfing, mountain biking and playing basketball.

A 2011 New York Times article stated that: “the symptoms of a concussion [didn’t] go away. Something as simple as a trip to the grocery store was painful for Shadyac, whose brain was unable to filter various stimuli.

After medical treatments failed to help, he isolated himself completely, sleeping in his closet and walling the windows of his mobile home with black-out curtains. As his symptoms finally began to subside, the director wanted to share his inner quest in the way he knew best: through film.” Shadyac likened the experience to Dante’s Seventh Circle of Hell.

Shadyac subsequently gave away his excess fortune, opening a homeless shelter in Charlottesville, Virginia and making a key donation to Telluride, Colorado’s effort to set aside a natural area at the town’s entrance. He reoriented and simplified his life, sold his 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) Los Angeles mansion and moved into a trailer park — albeit the exclusive Paradise Cove park in Malibu.

In the film, Shadyac conducts interviews with scientists, religious leaders, environmentalists and philosophers including Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Lynne McTaggart, Elisabet Sahtouris, David Suzuki, Howard Zinn, and Thom Hartmann. The film asks two central questions: What’s Wrong With the World? and What Can We Do About it?. It is about “human connectedness, happiness, and the human spirit”, and explores themes including Darwinism, Western mores, loneliness, the economy, and the drive to war. The documentary includes animated scenes explaining scientific concepts, as well as clips from the films Wall Street and It’s a Wonderful Life.

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Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, by director Peter Joseph, is a feature length documentary work which presents a case for a transition out of the current socioeconomic monetary paradigm which governs the entire world society.
This subject matter transcends the issues of cultural relativism and traditional ideology and moves to relate the core, empirical “life ground” attributes of human and social survival, extrapolating those immutable natural laws into a new sustainable social paradigm called a “Resource-Based Economy”.
THEATRICAL RELEASE – Zeitgeist: Moving Forward was released in 60+ countries and in 25+ languages on January 15th 2011. This large scale release was not associated with any major distributor.
DVD/INTERNET RELEASE – This is a non-commercial project, which means it is available for free acquisition via internet in both viewing form and full DVD download. We also have a discounted DVD available.

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The Boy who Sees Without Eyes

A documentary about Ben Underwood, a boy who has taught himself to use echo location to navigate around the world. Ben Underwood is blind, but has managed to do some truly extraordinary feats.

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The End of Poverty?

The aphorism “The poor are always with us” dates back to the New Testament, but while the phrase is still sadly apt in the 21st century, few seem to be able to explain why poverty is so widespread. Activist filmmaker Philippe Diaz examines the history and impact of economic inequality in the third world in the documentary The End of Poverty?, and makes the compelling argument that it’s not an accident or simple bad luck that has created a growing underclass around the world.

Diaz traces the growth of global poverty back to colonization in the 15th century, and features interviews with a number of economists, sociologists, and historians who explain how poverty is the clear consequence of free-market economic policies that allow powerful nations to exploit poorer countries for their assets and keep money in the hands of the wealthy rather than distributing it more equitably to the people who have helped them gain their fortunes.

Diaz also explores how wealthy nations (especially the United States) seize a disproportionate share of the world’s natural resources, and how this imbalance is having a dire impact on the environment as well as the economy. The End of Poverty? was an official selection at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.

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How to buy happiness

At TEDxCambridge, Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can, indeed buy happiness — when you don’t spend it on yourself. Listen for surprising data on the many ways pro-social spending can benefit you, your work, and (of course) other people.

Watch free documentary films at www.documentaryplace.com

Capitalism: A Love Story

Capitalism: A Love Story examines the impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans (and by default, the rest of the world). The film moves from Middle America, to the halls of power in Washington, to the global financial epicenter in Manhattan. With both humor and outrage, the film explores the question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? Families pay the price with their jobs, their homes and their savings.

Moore goes into the homes of ordinary people whose lives have been turned upside down; and he goes looking for explanations in Washington, DC and elsewhere. What he finds are the all-too-familiar symptoms of a love affair gone astray: lies, abuse, betrayal…and 14,000 jobs being lost every day. Capitalism: A Love Story also presents what a more hopeful future could look like. Who are we and why do we behave the way that we do?

Watch free documentary films at www.documentaryplace.com