As some of you know, one my leisure activities is watching movies. I’m fortunate to live near the last standing drive-in theatre in my state, so on many weekends from spring through summer I can see two or three full length, larger than life dramas, comedies or horror shows. And I subscribe to a DVD delivery service, so if the postal service shines, I can view anywhere from 3 to 5 releases. Last night I watched one I had not heard about, one you may not have either, and want to recommend it.
The film is called “The Corporation”, released in 2004; there’s a related web site called, appropriately enough, thecorporation.com. I’ve seen a few documentaries that examine our world, our environment, and the corporate system, but nothing like this. I left “An Inconvenient Truth” mad, inspired, frustrated, but at the end of “The Corporation” I was more challenged to do something, to share what I learned, and more educated, than I’ve felt in a long time.
Why am I posting this “movie review” on an SAP web site, you may be wondering? I won’t try to describe most of the film, but towards the last half, several threads on environmental destruction, quarterly profit goals, and personal responsibility come together for a hard-hitting chapter on Corporate Social Responsibility. Many perspectives are given by well-known speakers from all sides, including some direct from CEOs, with a sequence on protesters visiting the home of the Royal Dutch Shell chairman, and his subsequent commentary on the matter is simply astounding.
One of my heroes in this film is another CEO, who is shown standing up in front of his peers, and in a sense, confessing his sins to the world. He speaks throughout the film, describing what his firm does, what our manufacturing, consumption and disposal habits are doing to the earth, and what he personally (through his corporation) intends to do about the problems we have created.
In a DVD special feature, one of the movie’s creators talks about this being “non-fiction” rather than a documentary, with the position that there’s more news and facts than commentary and opinion. I would agree this is not an editorial, and while it presents a lot of worrisome scenarios, it contains multiple views, and doesn’t go for the cheap win by juxtaposing quotes to make any party look foolish.
In one part of the film, I learned how news media not only manipulate stories, but will bow to advertisers over the truth. Yes, I’m sure many of you suspect this, but the 2 reporters that share their personal and professional saga had me on the edge of my seat.
A well-done “critique of global conglomerates” (per the DVD sleeve notes).
[per the web site, the “film is based on the book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan.”]