“The Streets of Paris Are Burning. . . . .”
“How can a film become newsreels? Newsreels of the past. A documentary report of things that were never filmed.” by Marie-Pierre Duhamel
The director Orson Welles made a satire about our times.
The 1941 dramatic film Citizen Kane is about a publishing tycoon. The film started off with cinematography of a deep focus and echoes R-O-S-E-B-U-D in the opening scene. “Rosebud” is a metaphor about the lost innocence of a young boy—loss of innocence during our times, similar to the past-French revolution, economic and political corruptions’, civil unrest, and societal decay. In the closing scene, the name ROSEBUD painted in bold letters on the boys sled, burned along with his material possessions after his death.
Citizen Kane is a film based on reality, even back then the film was controversial among the wealthy elites like how documentary films have become controversial in today’s society. History becomes a series of clashes or class struggles. How a film becomes newsreel of the past, is like watching a series of forbidden montage in deep focus, a documentary report of a series of events that were never filmed.
I documented the Occupy Wall Street movement born out of the 1980s culture jamming—anti-consumerism movement. It was like watching press releases, a series of events as they were happening in the past, through use of Social Media. The American people have been lied to about the American dream, that success results from strong work ethics–if one wants to save enough for retirement, put in long hours, one would meet success and own their own home. Now, the American dream is packaged and sold based on manipulating the system. The US financial crises, the 13+ billion dollar bailout of Wall Street by the Feds, and the clear militarization of the US paramilitary forces since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, opened people eyes to the increasing power of the State over American lives. The American people are blind to what their government and the corporations are doing. As famously quoted by Isaac Asimov:
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” It takes courage and audacity to tell a story about our times.