Sunday, June 10, 2007

TAKING LIBERTIES - I humbly implore you to watch this film

TAKING LIBERTIES is that rare thing: an agit-doc that is well-structured, well-argued and convinces. It held my interest and made me feel suitably outraged even though I went into the film thinking I already agreed with all of its propositions. The thesis is simple. Tony Blair's administration has systematically eroded British civil liberties to the point where habeas corpus itself is undermined. The government prevents us from peacefully protesting; invades our privacy; can ship us off to the US without prima facie evidence of a prosecution case; and at worst, can ship us to a country where we will be tortured. Their defence is that if we have done nothing wrong we have nothing to fear. But this doc continually shows us innocent people doing nothing wrong being harrassed by the criminal justice system. The government claims that liberty must be compromised to protect our safety. But the terrorists are winning partly because of these draconian measures. And the Madrid bombings still happened, despite the fact that Spain has ID cards. I felt radicalised by the film, and I'm as card-carrying a member of the establishment as you can get. Imagine what people who have directly suffered from the new infringments must think?

Perhaps the film's only flaw is its willingness to equate our current loss of liberty with Germany in the 1930s. This charge - which comes in the first ten minutes of the doc - left me sceptical. But I have to admit that as case study upon case study of people being denied their rights piled up, I became a lot more sympathetic to that view.

I read those adverts proclaiming that TAKING LIBERTIES was the most important doc of the last ten years and cynically thought this was just marketing hype. Now I've seen the film, I think it's well-earned praise. This film is essential viewing.

TAKING LIBERTIES is on release in the UK.

No comments:

Post a Comment