Monday, 12 January 2009

DVD Review- In The Name of Justice by John Pilger

This DVD is the second set of John Pilger documentaries released over the last few years as a ‘sequel’ to Documentaries That Changed the World. It follows the same layout of 12 documentaries on an array of different topics.

The Mexicans

Despite being somewhat dated, this film conveys the hardship ordinary Mexicans face, in particular those related to the influence of the USA and the reasons that so many Mexicans migrate their illegally each year.

Street of Joy

This documentary looks at the US advertising industry and asks whether it can influence politics? Pilger examines how advertising techniques have been used in presidential elections to boost the ‘image’ of candidates whilst saying nothing about their policies.

Pyramid Lake is Dying

This film takes up the case of American Indians who after being robbed of thbe majority of their land, now face discriminatory policies that are destroying their culture and the environment that it was created in, including the aforementioned Pyramid Lake.

A Faraway Country

Pilger investigates Czechoslovakia almost ten years after the 1968 Prague Spring. Contrary to what many wished to convey then and now, most of the people Pilger speaks to argue for socialism with democracy, rather than the capitalist restoration that eventually occurred

Do You Remember Vietnam & Vietnam: The Last Battle

These two documentaries both look at Vietnam after the war, the first examines the causes of the war, the horrendous conditions endured by those who fought there and how, although under Stalinist rule, it is in much better condition than when it was under thinly-veiled imperialist rule. The second is 20 years after the war and examines in particular the so-called Market Socialism, which Pilger shows is but a stepping stone to full-blown capitalist restoration.

The Truth Game

Pilger looks behind the development of nuclear weapons. Especially interesting is his discussion of the cover-ups surrounding the dropping of nuclear bombs on Japan at the end of World War 2. He also deals with the nuclear weapon build up during the cold war.

Japan Behind the Mask

Made during the 1980’s, Pilger examines the economic ‘miracle’ of Japan’s post-war reconstruction and exposes how the super profits of Japanese corporations are based on the unseen super-exploitation of workers, especially women.

Apartheid Did Not Die

In this film Pilger takes a critical look at post-Apartheid South Africa and analyses the betrayal of the hopes of blacks by the now pro-capitalist ANC government. Rather interestingly for myself, it showed some footage inside the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission proceedings, which gives you a better idea of what one looks like than just sinmply reading about them.

The Last Dream: Heroes Unsung, Secrets & Other People’s Wars

These last three documentaries are a series made for the 1988 Australian centenary. They take a look at the hidden and unmentioned history of Australia, from the untold tales of how Australia was colonised with the forced labour of exiles and natives alike to Australia’s participation in wars at the behest of the major imperialist powers. As well as a critique of the then ‘Labor’ Hawke government, he reflects of the often untold struggles of ordinary people in the country.

All in all, although some of the documentaries are a little out of date today, they are still very watchable. I would recommend that people buy Documentaries That Changed the World before this as it covers a wider array of topics, but this is still worth buying, if only for Apartheid Did Not Die, which I think is one of Pilger’s best documentaries.

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