Saturday 25th April 17h

Why We Fight (2005)
a film by Eugene Jarecki

Why We Fight is the title of a series of propaganda films that Frank Capra began making in 1942, with the aim of encouraging the American war effort against Nazism. Director Eugene Jarecki has used the films as a commentary on the contemporary obsession of the American elite with military power.
He also harks back to a speech by President Eisenhower, who, just before he left office, referred to the "military-industrial complex". Eisenhower was worried that too much intelligence, and too much business acumen in America, had become focussed on the production of unnecessary weapons systems.
Since Eisenhower's time, everything has become much worse, as Eugene Jarecki describes it. The war in Iraq was made possible by a new range of weapons systems: a bomb called the "bunker buster" was dropped by stealth bombers on the first night of the conflict.
Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life? Jarecki's shrewd and intelligent polemic would seem to give an affirmative answer to each of these questions.

Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room (2005)
a film by Alex Gibney

Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, a multidimensional study of one of the biggest business scandals in American history. The chronicle takes a look at one of the greatest corporate disasters in history, in which top executives from the 7th largest company in this country walked away with over one billion dollars, leaving investors and employees with nothing. The film features insider accounts and rare corporate audio and video tapes that reveal colossal personal excesses of the Enron hierarchy and the utter moral vacuum that posed as corporate philosophy. The human drama that unfolds within Enron's walls resembles a Greek tragedy and produces a domino effect that could shape the face of our economy and ethical code for years to come.

Sunday 26th April 17h

I.O.U.S.A. (2008)
a film by Patrick Creadon

Throughout history, the American government has found it nearly impossible to spend only what has been raised through taxes. Wielding candid interviews with both average American taxpayers and government officials, Sundance veteran Patrick Creadon (Wordplay) helps demystify the nation's financial practices and policies. The film follows former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker as he crisscrosses the country explaining America's unsustainable fiscal policies to its citizens.

With surgical precision, Creadon interweaves archival footage and economic data to paint a vivid and alarming profile of America's current economic situation. The ultimate power of I.O.U.S.A. is that the film moves beyond doomsday rhetoric to proffer potential financial scenarios and propose solutions about how we can recreate a fiscally sound nation for future generations.
Creadon uses candid interviews and his featured subjects include Warren Buffett, Alan Greenspan, Paul O'Neill, Robert Rubin, and Paul Volcker, along with the Peter G. Peterson Foundation's own David Walker and Bob Bixby of the Concord Coalition, a Foundation grantee.

Pointedly topical and consummately nonpartisan, I.O.U.S.A. drives home the message that the only time for America's financial future is now.

An Inconvenient Truth
a film by Davis Guggenheim

This stunning documentary about global warming is a well-
reasoned, clearly-proved, intelligent, cogent, irresistible torrent of
scientific data, in a curiously warm, engaging, often funny
presentation. What an entertaining horror movie this is! Unexpectedly,
improbably, Gore is doing a Hitchcock act here, all affable and
chummy... before scaring the hell out of the audience. And that he does,
with charts, statistics, projections coming from hundreds of peer-
reviewed studies, none challenged, while allowing how some 50% of mass-
media treatment of global warming *is* subject to questions. There is
even a cute animation segment about exaggerated global-warming claims.

There is no need to exaggerate. Unchallenged studies are showing an
extraordinary rise in ocean temperatures, the disappearance of glaciers,
the melting of the poles - and then Gore twists the knife with a series
of graphics showing areas to be inundated by rising waters. In a flooded
Manhattan of the future, Gore says, the site of the World Trade Center
will be under water. "Terrorism," he says, without drama or
overemphasis, "is not the only danger we must face." The threatened
catastrophe is not in the distant future. The US Geological Survey
predicts that by 2030, Glacier National Park will have no glaciers left.
In the last 30 years, 400,00 square miles of Arctic sea ice have melted;
polar bears today drown when they cannot find an ice floe to rest on.
What has Congress done about global warming? Absolutely nothing.

Davis Guggenheim's documentary is based mostly on Gore's multimedia
presentation on climate change, a lecture he has delivered hundreds of
times in recent months. While Gore is managing the show with powerful
efficiency, there is nothing dry or tired about it. The film is
virtually flawless, even some of the cornier visuals fit in. Gore's
personal remarks are affecting: the death of his sister from lung
cancer, after lifelong smoking, forced the family - after generations of
tobacco-growing in Tennessee - to quit the business. No overt statement
is heard, but there is an inevitable comparison with the world's
addiction to many activities directly contributing to climate change.

Political references are at a minimum. The only strong criticism of the
Bush presidency is in the context of the Republican rejection of the
Kyoto Treaty, making the US one of two countries in the world to do so
(Australia is the other one). Following a huge list of countries paying
at least lip service to the cause of climate control under the treaty,
Gore shows a similarly large list of US cities where local government is
taking measures not supported by Washington.

Gore is clear about the danger of being overwhelmed by the danger of
what's happening, and he concludes the film by saying that going from
denial to despair without pausing to see what can be done is the wrong
course of action, or rather inaction. "Political will," Gore says, "is a
renewable resource." Gently, but firmly, he calls for attention to a
clear and present danger that cannot be ignored... even if faith-based
denial of the evidence before us remains largely the order of the day,
with all the comfort of darkness behind closed eyes.