Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Killing of America (1982)

Directed by :
Sheldon Renan
Leonard Schrader

Evo jednog zaista kultnog dokumentarca, snimite samo godinu kad je napravljen pa ce vam biti jasnije zashto je digo tolku prasinu svojevremeno. Znachi tema je porast nasilja u SAD i obradjeni su svi vidovi nasilja od kriminala svih vrsta, serijskih ubica, preko atentatora, manijaka koji haraju, nereda na ulicama, destruktivnih kultova , detalja maznutih iz Faces of Death, i tako dalje etc. etc. Nema shta tu mnogo se pricha ovo je fensi verzija shokumentarca samo skroz profi odradjena pa ne moz nikako da se poredi sa npr. tada aktuelnim Faces of Death jer je sve to fino upakovano a i postoji neka pricha a ne samo gomila snimaka za "shokiranje", znachi 90 minuta svih zala koja su zaposlela Ameriku do te '82.

One of the most famous shockumentaries, long lost in obscurity and never before available in the U.S., has finally made its DVD debut! The Killing Of America was produced by Leonard Shrader (brother of director Paul Shrader) and written by Shrader and his wife Chieko. When Shrader was not happy with director Sheldon Renan's work, he also took over as director and editor. The Killing Of America was an American-Japanese co-production, produced exclusively for the Japanese market, as shockumentaries such as Faces Of Death were incredibly successful there at the time. But The Killing Of America is not one of those exploitative shockumentaries with staged footage. It's a grim, grisly, hard-hitting documentary on America's descent into madness. It's comprised of rare film footage, sound footage, and still pictures culled from TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, and police archives. Everything is 100% real.

The film opens with bold red text informing us: "All of the film you are about to see is real. Nothing has been staged." It then cuts to footage of police shooting a deranged man on the street. If you didn't know what to expect from this film, that should give you some idea of the remaining ninety minutes.

What this notorious Japanese/American co-production does, is take a clinical and historical look at some famous and not so famous crimes through the use of news clips and archival footage. The stoic narration overtop provides the historical and social context through the use of statistics and background information on the footage provided, thus raising the film from what is essentially a compilation of crime and death footage into a cohesive package that does more than just shock the viewer.

The theme of the movie is the incredible rise in the rates of violent crime in America. In additon to hearing the statistics, we see gruesome crime scene photos, footage of robberies, and various other violent crimes. The film then moves into darker territory with its profiles of America's most notorious mass murderers and serial killers, including Charles Whitman, John Gacy, David Berkowitz, Charles Manson and the Manson Family, and of course, Ted Bundy. See Bundy defend himself in court and listen to his surviving victims testify to the horrors he inflicted on them.

You can judge from the subject matter that this isn't an easy film to watch. Most of the images are very confronting, and many people may hit the stop button before its completion. However, if you can handle the content, The Killing of America makes very compelling viewing.

See interviews with murderers, including a cheerful Sirhan Sirhan and serial killer Ed Kemper. There's footage of crazed cult leader Reverend Jim Jones and his followers. See video of their mass suicide, with the camera panning over hundreds of corpses. See footage of a 16-year-old girl who was given a rifle for her birthday and used it to shoot children at a nearby elementary school playground.

The Killing Of America may be labeled a shockumentary, but it isn't. It's a grisly, gut-wrenching, harrowing vision about America's descent into madness - the madness of violent crime and a destructive gun culture. Finally available on DVD, this movie is a must-see, but be warned - what you will see is 100% real - the bare, gruesome truth about man's inhumanity to man. This film is very graphic and is not for the squeamish!




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