(gb) wrote: Saying Nothing of Importance I am coming at this from somewhere in the middle, which I hope makes me more objective about the film. In fact, as with a lot of other things, I am a big fan of the "legalize, tax, and regulate" school. It's true that pot isn't as bad for you as even alcohol and tobacco--probably. (Information about just marijuana use is hard to come by, because most marijuana users also use other drugs, primarily tobacco and alcohol.) On the other hand, it's true that I don't want it given to young people, people whose brains are still developing--any more than I would with alcohol and tobacco! I don't see marijuana as the great evil a lot of people see, but I don't see it as the great liberator and harmless pastime that a lot of other people see. Part of this is that I have an intense longing for normal brain patterns, which I have spent my life trying to achieve. On the other hand, I understand that other people want to get out of their lives for a while, just in the opposite direction. So. Filmmaker Ron Mann gives us an incomplete picture of the history of marijuana legislation in the United States. He does talk about the major points. He does bring up the historical changes in exactly what was "wrong" with the Demon Weed at any given time, at least according to the establishment at the time. There is some discussion of the history of the legislation. The film is made up almost entirely of archive footage, which I think is a strong point of the film. It's interesting to see, indeed, how those views have indeed changed in the hundred or so years of legislative history. It is, of course, true that the early laws were racist, as the film shows. It is also true that the enforcement of laws have always been uneven. Narration comes from notorious legalization supporter Woody Harrelson, which frankly makes it even harder to see the film itself as objective. The frustrating thing is that I do agree with the essential point of the film. I just think it's said badly. I think, indeed, that the film, in pretty much preaching to the choir, fails in its own intent. It isn't going to convince anyone; it didn't change my feelings except to make me even more annoyed by some of the pro-legalization activists. I even took notes, a thing I don't generally do, on what I considered logical and even factual errors in the film. For one, I was deeply annoyed by the use of added voices and sound effects. I was annoyed at the simplistic portrayal of the Hays Office, a subject of some great interest to me. The figures are not mentioned as having been adjusted for inflation or not, a thing I think very important. It also, as far as I can tell, conflates money spent on "the War on Marijuana" with money spent on the entire "War on Drugs" among other oversimplifications. For example, while it denies, and probably rightly, the idea that people on marijuana then inevitably move on to any other drugs, it does not explore whether people on other drugs have started on marijuana, which I think a far more interesting point. The film also makes some explicit assumptions. Very early in the film, it is said that jazz musicians used the drug because it "makes the music sound better." This is stated as fact, not opinion. It also seems apparent to me that, in the Cab Calloway clip included, Calloway is making fun of marijuana smokers, espousing some of the various attitudes that the film makes fun of. It refers to Ford as a "fill-in President." While arguably historically true, there is no context given. That's the problem, by and large--no context is given. Dates are given for the clips, generally, but almost always "circa." Even a clip of Chevy Chase on [i]Saturday Night Live[/i] is listed as "circa 1978," a great silliness given the fact that it's so easy to look up. I think it's part of an assumption that we won't care. True, I don't--but adding "circa" makes me. I went, as I may have mentioned, to a college where this film would be greatly lauded by the most vocal parts of the population. Probably is, in fact, though it's now ten years out of date. Certainly it took me until I was well into the letter I to get to this, even though it starts with G. It's one of the two last of that letter which I've gotten, and at that, there are still five people on the list behind me. I wonder, though, if its great accolades from these people come from the fact that it says what they want to hear. I would very much like to see a more thoughtful portrayal of the subject, and the fact that the History Channel, in its sensationalist [i]Hooked: The History of Illegal Drugs[/i] series, may well have done so bodes ill for this film. Frankly, so does the fact that it seems to feel the need for catchy graphics in order into fill in between the dull historical bits.
(jp) wrote: [font=Century Gothic]In "Charulata," it is 1879 and Bhupati(Shailen Mukherjee) feels sorry for his beautiful wife, Charulata(Madhabi Mukherjee), since he is so busy publishing his newspaper that he has very little time to spend with her. Fearing that she is lonely, he summons his carefree brother, Amal(Soumitra Chatterjee), a poet who dreams of traveling to England. That is not the only reason as he also offers him a job and starts to think about possible marriages for him.[/font][font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"Charulata" is a resonant and understated soap opera with political overtones set in colonial India. Bhupati is an anglophile who publishes his newspaper, The Sentinel, in English, while wearing European clothing. He believes in democracy and freedom of the press in criticizing the colonial government. One presumes that he will get a very rude awakening one day when he discovers that the rule of law is not applied equally to everyone in India. So, you could see the beginnings of nationalism here in the recently united subcontinent.[/font]