The Weather Underground

( 1 )

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 ...
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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 communiqu├ęs 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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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.
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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: 5/25/2004
  • UPC: 767685960233
  • Original Release: 2003
  • Rating:

  • Source: New Video Group
  • Time: 1:32:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 26,151

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 Voice Only
Pamela Z. Voice Only
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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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Scenes
   Extras
      Audio Commentaries
         Play Commentary From Director Sam Green: On
         Play Commentary From Director Sam Green: Off
         Play Commentary From Former Weathermen Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers: On
         Play Commentary From Former Weathermen Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers: Off
      Original Weathermen Audio Communiques
         Play Communique 1
         Play Communique 5
      Short Film: David Gilbert: A Lifetime of Struggle
         Credits
         Play Film
      Excerpt From Emile de Antonio's Underground
         Play Excerpt
      Filmmaker Statement
      Crew Biographies
         Sam Green
         Bill Siegel
         Carrie Lozano
      Spanish Subtitles
         Play With Spanish Subtitles: On
         Play With Spanish Subtitles: Off
      About Docurama
         Credits
      Catalog/Trailers
         The 11th of September
         Absolutely Positive
         A Decade Under the Influence
         Always a Bridesmaid
         American Nightmare
         The Atomic Cafe
         The Awful Truth: The Complete Series
         Baadasssss Cinema
         Be Good, Smile Pretty
         Best Boy
         Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back
            Play Trailer
         The Brandon Teena Story
         Brother's Keeper
            Play Trailer
         Children Underground
         Crisis
         Dancing to New Orleans
         Death: A Love Story
         Fastpitch
         The First Year
         From Mao to Mozart
         Full Frame Documentary Shorts: Vol. 1
         Full Frame Documentary Shorts: Vol. 2
         Genghis Blues
         Go Tigers!
            Play Trailer
         It Was a Wonderful Life
         John Lee Hooker
         Jupiter's Wife
         Keep the River on Your Right
            Play Trailer
         The Legend of Ron Jeremy
            Play Trailer
         The Last Round: Chuvalo vs. Ali
         Lost in La Mancha
            Play Trailer
         The Main Stream
         Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision
         Moon Over Broadway
         Murder on a Sunday Morning
         My Knees Were Jumping
         Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg: Speaking in Strings
         Naked States
         Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasens
         On the Road With Duke Ellington
         Original Cast Album: Company
         Pandemic: Facing AIDS
         Paradise Lost 2: Revelations
         Paul Taylor: Dancemaker
         Pie in the Sky: The Brigid Berlin Story
         Primary
         Radio Bikini
         Regret to Inform
         Roots of Rhythm
         Scared Straight!
         See How They Run
         Shaolin Ulysses
         Silverlake Life: The View From Here
         Sing Faster: The Stagehand's Ring Cycle
         The Smashing Machine
            Play Trailer
         Smothered
         Sophie B. Hawkins: The Cream Will Rise
         Sound and Fury
            Play Trailer
         Southern Comfort
         The Sweetest Sound
         Todd McFarlane: The Devil You Know
         The True Meaning of Pictures
         William Gibson: No Maps for These Territories
         W.I.S.O.R.
         WTC: The First 24 Hours
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Gripping Documentary!

    I highly recommend this documentary, even if you don't like documentaries. A very elegent and tastefully documented tale of a brutal time in U.S. history when citizens began to revolt against 'Big-Brother' controlling and killing many innocent lives at home and abroad. Shows true compassion and remorse for those warriors in the 60's and 70's who first began to stand up and fight back for the working middle-class being sacraficed in Vietnam. A very wonderful film!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews