Weather Underground

Weather Underground

5.0 1
Director: Sam Green, Bill Siegel

Cast: Sam Green, Bill Siegel, Bernardine Dohrn, Mark Rudd

     
 

By tracking down the living members of the Weathermen and interspersing new interviews with archival footage, Sam Green and Bill Siegel created a documentary that was nominated for an Oscar and which shows how historical events from over 30 years ago can still comment on the current political climate. The Weather Underground is an even better experience on DVDSee more details below

Overview

By tracking down the living members of the Weathermen and interspersing new interviews with archival footage, Sam Green and Bill Siegel created a documentary that was nominated for an Oscar and which shows how historical events from over 30 years ago can still comment on the current political climate. The Weather Underground is an even better experience on DVD thanks to the crew at Docu Rama. The film is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio, and the soundtrack is solid, although obviously it suffers on occasion due to the age and condition of some of the archival materials. The bonus materials on this disc make it one of the best DVD releases of the year. A commentary by director Sam Green involves discussions in the genesis of this project, the difficulty in tracking down the members of the organization, and the amount of trust they had to build up with many of the people who eventually agreed to be filmed on-camera. Green studiously avoids making any overt political statements, making this an intriguing look at how documentary films are put together. A second commentary track by Weathermen figures Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn injects the disc with a pointed political discussion in which they also express feelings of nostalgia, righteous anger, and occasionally dissatisfaction with elements in the finished film. Having their insights adds another fascinating layer to this already-intriguing documentary. A pair of audio communiqués recorded by the group during their years of violent protest, a portion of a documentary featured in the film, and a written statement by the filmmakers all add to this superb disc that should be viewed by anyone with an interest in politics or history.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Sam Green and Bill Siegel's The Weather Underground attempts to cover an awful lot of ground in 90 minutes: tracking the rise of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) from a non-violent civil rights group to America's largest radical leftist organization; explaining how a militant wing of the group first took control of the SDS and then splintered into a violent, revolutionary faction called The Weathermen; chronicling the group's declaration of war against the American government (and later the American people) as they attempted to "bring the war home" through a series of violent actions; and how the revolutionaries learned to "hide in plain sight" until most of them independently made the decision to give themselves up. That it does so as well as it does is remarkable, and if the film is flawed, it's in what isn't there rather than what is. For example, it seems odd that there's not a single mention of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, where the aggressive side of the Left met one of their most bitter defeats at the hands of the police; and while a handful of former Weathermen speak of their years underground, most are cautiously hesitant to discuss the details of their lives in hiding or how they worked with other radical groups, which isn't difficult to understand, but still leaves a significant chunk of this story untold. Also, while one FBI agent goes on record to discuss how the bureau tracked the Weathermen's activities, we learn little of the covert actions of COINTELPRO, the notorious FBI task force created to ferret out political dissidents. (Its ruthless disregard for due process and the Bill of Rights eventually caused most of the court cases against the repentant Weathermen to be thrown out of court.) As a complete overview of one of the most fascinating and troubling chapters in the political history of Vietnam-era America, The Weather Underground misses the mark, but as an introduction, it's compelling and thought-provoking stuff. Green and Siegel allow their subjects to explain themselves and their actions with little interference and the various degrees of their three-decade hindsight is itself one of the most fascinating aspects of the film.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/25/2004
UPC:
0767685960233
Original Release:
2003
Rating:
NR
Source:
New Video Group
Time:
1:32:00

Special Features

Commentary by former Weathermen Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers; filmmaker commentary; original Weathermen audio communiques; bonus film on former Weatherman David Gilbert: A Lifetime of Struggle; excerpt from the Emile de Antonio film Underground; filmmaker biographies; filmmaker statement.

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bernardine Dohrn Participant
Mark Rudd Participant
Brian Flanagan Participant
David Gilbert Participant
David Gilbert Participant
Bill Ayers Participant
Naomi Jaffe Participant
Todd Gitlin Participant
Laura Whitehorn Participant
Don Strickland Participant
Kathleen Cleaver Participant
Lili Taylor Narrator
Pamela Z. Narrator

Technical Credits
Sam Green Director,Editor,Producer
Bill Siegel Director,Producer
Andrew Black Cinematographer
Dave Cerf Score Composer
Amy Domingues Score Composer
Christian Ettinger Executive Producer
Mary Harron Executive Producer
Dawn Logsdon Editor
Carrie Lozano Producer
Sue Ellen McCann Executive Producer
Federico Salsano Cinematographer
Marc Smolowitz Producer
David Westby Sound/Sound Designer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Revolutionaries
2. War on Foreign Soil
3. Seeds of Revolution
4. Weather Collective
5. Bring the War Home
6. FBI's Most Wanted
7. Acts of Violence
8. Underground
9. Counter Culture
10. Resurgent Efforts
11. When You Think...
12. Credits

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