Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Inequality for All

The documentary Inequality for All sold out when it played at the SF International Film Festival, so I was glad for the chance to see it when it showed up at the Metreon last week. It features Robert Reich, President Clinton's Secretary of Labor, explaining his concerns over the causes & effects of the widening income gap in the US. Mr. Reich returns repeatedly to historical data showing parallels between the crashes of 1929 & 2008. Animated charts & graphs show some disgusting statistics. For instance, the 400 richest Americans hold over 50% of the nation's wealth. We get glimpses into the lives of families who are the working poor & meet a rich business owner who admits to paying only 11% of his income in taxes & readily points out that he can't possibly put back into the economy all the money he makes simply by spending more.

The film promotes the bright-eyed Mr. Reich as a champion for the middle class. In the first scene, the filmmakers accompany Mr. Reich as he drives up California Street in San Francisco in his MINI Cooper. We see him talking on camera, appearing in old TV footage, making jokes about his small stature & being inspirational to a packed lecture hall of UC Berkeley students. I was confused about the context for a scene in which he meets with workers at a Calpine power plant. The movie is a call for activism, though it is carefully non-partisan & does not advocate a specific cause except to imply that unions are a good thing.

Because of the opening of Gravity, there was a long line to purchase tickets at the Metreon, & I got into my auditorium 10 minutes late. However, the movie did not start until over 15 minutes past the advertised start time, & it might not have run at all if someone hadn't gone out & told a Metreon manager that we had no movie. The projectionist skipped the trailers for us, but the film was improperly masked, & the top & bottom of the image were cropped.

§ Inequality for All (2013)
dir. Jacob Kornbluth, USA, 90 mins.

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