1968 has been called "the year that rocked the world," "the year from hell," and "the year the dream died." It was certainly one of the twentieth century's most chaotic, paradigm-shifting moments, with assassinations (Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X), riots, massacres, and a general sense of impending doom (or revolution) gripping the world. And most of it unfolded live via satellite. Indeed, some might argue that the story of 1968 is less about a revolution of thought as much as a revolution of images.
When thousands of protesters clashed with the Chicago PD (who responded with tear gas and indiscriminant clubbing) during the Democratic Convention in August 1968, it wasn't just an isolated civic disturbance. More than 50 million Americans were watching it unfold on TV, further polarizing a country that appeared to be ripping at the seams. Some sort of revolution was being televised, and it was both gripping and terrifying.
Chicago 10 is a film about the images. Ostensibly, it's a documentary about the Democratic Convention riots in Chicago and the subsequent "Chicago 8" trial against the protest organizers and hippie leadership for charges of inciting violence (The title Chicago 10 includes the two defense lawyers who were eventually also sentenced with contempt charges).
But this film is not as concerned with narrative or plot development as it is with immersing us in the mood and visceral power of the images that defined these events. There is a lot more going on here visually than your typical run-of-the-mill documentary. Directed by Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture), Chicago 10 is a unique blend of 3D animation and real archival footage. The "reenacted" courtroom scenes are all done in a sort ...1
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