Archive for the ‘film’ Category

9500 Liberty, the DVD

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

When I was working with filmmakers Annabel Park and Eric Byler on the documentary 9500 Liberty in 2009, America was at an inflection point in its immigration policy. Action at the national level was paralyzed by rigid opposition on the right and distracted timidity on the left. At the same time, mushrooming unemployment and economic uncertainty created a feverish hothouse environment where proponents of harsh laws against undocumented workers were finding traction among state and local legislatures. The film dropped at just the right moment to inform the debate with its depiction of the unintended negative social and economic consequences of such legislation in Virginia, and audiences in 42 cities across the country were responding to its compelling story.

Alas, in a series of consequences-be-damned, politics-above-all decisions, such laws came to pass in a number of states. These draconian policies — even more severe than the one documented in the film — have already been signed into law in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and elsewhere, stressing communities and bringing the first taste of billions in economic disruption as people vote with their feet to find friendlier places to call home.

It’s in this climate that the DVD of 9500 Liberty is being released on November 29. Unfortunately as relevant and prescient as ever, it continues to tell an important story of lessons previously learned, even as the continuing debate, court challenges and social-economic consequences unfold.

On La Dolce Vita

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

Roger Ebert reflected recently on his 46-year journey with La Dolce Vita. His musings recall my own experience with Fellini’s film…

More than a decade ago, I remember the experience of being drawn to the screen — literally pulled closer to the television — as La Dolce Vita unfolded. Something in its velvet frames of black and white spoke to me… something, perhaps, about the quiet hunger for connection, for meaning — a reflection of my own thrashing struggles at the time.

In the years since, I’ve seen the film countless times, including an all-nighter infinite loop playing as I packed (and tried to practice my very rough language skills) for a trip to Italy. Today, the film’s thread of unquenchable loneliness doesn’t resonate as sharply as it once did — marriage and, I hope, a measure of maturity have helped to soften those pangs. But I still recognize the experience as a part of me, inseparable, I suppose, from being human…