Documentary Film: Gasland II

The movie that helped galvanize opposition to hydraulic fracturing aka fracking and graphically expose its dangers now has a sequel. Even if the flaming water from faucets and wells still appears, this time filmmaker Josh Fox focuses less on the many serious health effects and pollution problems that result from the mad rush to drill for “clean” natural gas and looks more closely at how government not just allowed but colluded in this betrayal of the citizens and their communities, public wellness and our essential natural resource (clean water). It’s not a pretty picture, the big money power game and political chicanery that has allowed the heinous practice of fracking to proliferate so widely. But the tide is turning, and Fox is something of a citizen hero for taking up this cause and prompting change.

Documentary Film: American Experience: John D. Rockefeller

As long as we’re on the subject of natural resources, drilling and energy, the businessman who all but cornered and owned the entire oil market to become the world’s richest man offers an instructive and interesting human tale. The PBS series as always offers a fair yet still unstinting but still humane look at this complex and somewhat enigmatic titan of industry, the founding of his dynasty, and how philanthropy changed the family’s image from ruthless to patrician generosity. And for all the senior Rockefeller’s misdeeds, he still looks far better than some of today’s top one percenters.

Documentary Film: Simon & Garfunkel – The Harmony Game: The Making of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’

A revelatory lesson in greatness for folks like me who have a streak of music recording geek inside, this doc is rich with all the musical and production aspects that made the duo’s final and best-selling album such a monument. It also illuminates in much commentary by Simon and Garfunkel how a friendship and musical partnership can gloriously blossom and then fade away (though they have reunited to perform since), and without overplaying the hand, it also captures the tenor of the times the album so deeply represents. Plus the music, of course, is splendid.

From The Progressive Populist, September 15, 2013



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