Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Inequality For All (2013)

WHO: Robert Reich is the focus of this documentary.

WHAT: This breezy documentary addresses a weighty topic, the causes and ill effects of the enormous gap between the wealth and income of a few very rich Americans, and that of the rest of us. Some have lamented that the film doesn't go far enough in arguing for effective solutions to the economic mess we find ourselves in, and it's a fair point to be sure. But clearly the filmmaker (Jacob Kornbluth, a local) felt his film would be more powerful as a tool to raise awareness about the magnitude of the issue, and perhaps even convert some skeptics. To that end, he doesn't go overboard on hammering political points but rather centers his film on one eloquent and tireless advocate of the importance of this issue, UC Berkeley professor and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, whose biography, it turns our, mirrors his chosen cause in poignant ways. Kalvin Henley has written a more complete review I can recommend reading.

WHERE: Screens at 9:00 tonight and at 6:30 tomorrow and Thursday at the Camera 3 in San Jose, and multiple times daily at the California Theatre in Berkeley at least through this Thursday. UPDATE 11/12/2013: The Balboa is also screening the film multiple times daily through Thursday.

WHY: Whether you feel you've heard Reich's arguments enough or feel you could never hear them enough (or more likely, fall somewhere in between those points on the scale), you may be interested in seeing Inequality For All simply for the local angle. A great deal of the documentary was shot in the Bay Area, including the above image of downtown Oakland's majestic Paramount Theatre (which screens The African Queen for $5 this Friday, incidentally).

Reich appears (with much less screen time, I'm led to believe) in another documentary coming to Frisco Bay soon: Frederick Wiseman's latest institutional investigation At Berkeley, which takes a more comprehensive view of the workings of the University of California's flagship campus. Since I last speculated about where it might screen, I've learned it will come to UC Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive December 3rd that Wiseman will be on hand for, but that will  be open only to the University's students, faculty and staff. A second PFA showing will occur January 18th, 2014 (dare I hope along with a retrospective of Wiseman films? It's been over ten years since the last), but before that both the Elmwood and the Roxie will screen At Berkeley for at least a week starting December 6th, with opening night screenings accompanied by a Skype q&a with the director.

HOW: Inequality For All was made and will screen digitally.

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