In the lead up to the 7th Canadian Film Festival in Australia (August 2012), join us as we countdown the Top 100 Canadian Films of the past 30 years. We'll be posting one film a day leading up to Canada Day on July 1st 2012. Do you agree with our team favourites? Let us know your thoughts!
#17 - The Corporation
Calling all unrepentant capitalists – prepare to huff and puff about ‘left-wing propaganda’. And calling all socialists and humanists, too - prepare to join the choir and be preached to. But not in an irritating way – in the (reasonably) fast-moving world of political consciousness, The Corporation is still able to inspire incredulity almost a decade after its release.
The documentary traces the evolution of corporations in the United States from their largely honourable beginnings as government-owned institutions designed to enact specific public functions, to their current troublesome incarnation, as face-less entities ascribed most of the legal rights of a human being, but with no personal responsibilities except to generate profit for their shareholders.
The Corporation takes this legal definition of corporations literally, and amusingly applies psychiatric assessment criteria to the most notably unpleasant behaviour of North American corporations, concluding that, if the ‘corporation’ were in fact an actual human being, it would be locked up as a dangerous psychopath.
Of course, as most people now recognise, the heedless pursuit of profit without any sense of personal or human responsibility leads to complete disaster, as the documentary demonstrates, causing travesties from environmental devastation and the exploitation of vulnerable workers to mad cow disease and the privatisation of an entire country’s water supply.
Prominent activists like Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein and Michael Moore trade rhetoric with CEOs, economists and marketers, adding a crucial balance to the perspectives explored; but be in no doubt, if you don’t finish the film worried about the future of humanity then you might need your own psychiatric assessment.
Directors Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, and writer Joel Bakan, succeed by making this cautionary tale both shocking and terribly funny, not to mention entertaining, packed with excellent quotes and tales of brain-aching callousness. If you have a friend – or foe – whose political awareness is a touch lacking, slip them this Sundance-winning doco and it just might open their doors of perception.
- Nick Jarvis
“An impassioned polemic, filled with information sure to break up any dinner-table conversation.” Roger Ebert
To see the other films in the countdown so far, click here.