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Archive for July, 2004

Control Room

Posted by Ed on July 20, 2004

Last night I saw Control Room, a behind the scenes look at the Al-Jazeera television network. The film’s director was born and raised in Egypt, but moved to the US in 1990 to attend Harvard University. The film focuses on differences in reporting between Al Jazeera and, mostly, US networks, of events still fresh in our minds such as US troops entering Baghdad, Jessica Lynch, the felling of the statue and shows us to what extent our ‘news’ is manipulated. It exposes the hypocrisy of Rumsfeld in his cries that Al Jazeera is just a mouthpiece for Bin Laden, and shows us that the people of Al Jazeera are just ordinary people trying to do their jobs as best they can.

Many of the characters portayed in the film are vehemently against the war, and deeply angry, but few are anti-American. One of the most revealing moments for me was when one of the film’s central characters, Hassan Ibrahim, is asked what he thinks will check the US overexertion of its might. He replies that he has absolute faith in the US constitution and the US people.

I’ve also seen Farhenheit 9/11, and Michael Moore has his place, certainly, as a counter-weight to the stream of right-wing views we’re subjected to, but Control Room is a far superior film to Fahrenheit 9/11. It looks at length at one aspect of the war, where Fahrenheit glosses over too many. It also avoids the sensationalist and confrontational style of Moore, and leaves the viewer to form his or her own opinion. It is an intelligent and moving film, and deserves to be widely seen.

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