Last Tango In Utah

Searching the slopes for signs of independence at the Sundance Film Festival

Manufacturing consent: Jehane Noujaim's 'Control Room'
Noujaim Films
Manufacturing consent: Jehane Noujaim's 'Control Room'

Speaking of the powers of persuasion, the Sundance doc that swayed me the most this year is Jehane Noujaim's Control Room, which despite its adherence to the fairness doctrine can be reasonably interpreted as a recruiting film for Al Jazeera. (Where can I send my résumé?) Noujaim, who co-directed Startup.com, secures amazing access to both the Arab independent news network and to Central Command, which conveniently includes the United States' major Middle East military base and its major TV news outlets under the same gigantic roof. Cataloguing countless distinctions between last year's coverage of the Iraq War's victims and the coalition's "victory" by Al Jazeera and CNN/NBC/ABC/E!, Control Room brilliantly exposes the myth of journalistic impartiality during wartime. (How will Big Media review the movie if and when its "indie" subsidiaries acquire it for distribution? Stay tuned.) A senior producer at Al Jazeera--who hilariously confesses to coveting a job at Fox News--observes that "history is written by the victors." Indeed, war is hell and hell is news--and news is war. And an orgasm is better than a bomb.

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