Thursday, January 7, 2010

Apocalyptic Prophesy

Collapse (Chris Smith, 2009)
** (Worth Seeing)

Scare-mongering and facetious, Chris Smith's documentary Collapse is an 80-minute interview with conspiracy theorist Michael Ruppert.

Mr. Ruppert is the founder and editor of the investigative journalism publication From the Wilderness and he has a deep hatred towards the American politicians George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, and the current President Barack Obama. He claims the world oil supply, any day now, is going to be depleted and after the collapse of government, which will happen soon enough, only the survivalist and those who are strong enough to live through the “transition” will persevere. Oh and lest I forget, he imagines that plant seeds will become a new form of currency.

Let’s just say, his argument is less then convincing. Mr. Rupperts anger towards the government and parliamentary corruption overshadow any strength behind his convictions and there is a bargain-basement quality to his argument. All of this is made worst by the tactless cinematography with its manipulative zoom-in close-ups that try to win the viewer through pathos and emphasizing the “authority” of this self-proclaimed seer.

Collapse’s only redeeming facet is as a cultural artifact. Though there are faults to Mr. Ruppert’s logic, the film presents an in depth presentation of the views of a social discontent in the wake of a major economic downturn, one which he apparently foresaw. Late in the documentary it is even told, in one of the many awkward black screens, that Mr. Ruppert is now late for paying his rent and he is facing eviction.

This engagement with the stalled American landscape classifies the documentary, for me, as a recession film. A recession film is one that thematically encapsulates the personal effects of the credit system collapse and the burst of the housing bubble due regulatory failure. Others recession films include: Capitalism: A Love Story, Wendy and Lucy, The Limits of Control, Up in The Air, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, The Informant! etc. It is through consciousness and engagement with the issues of our times, in these cases through socially conscious filmmaking, which increases ones world-view and strengthens convictions towards mindful change.-David Davidson

(The Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank Street, 8/01 - 10/01)

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