The End of America (film)
|The End of America|
|Directed by||Ricki Stern
|Produced by||Avram Ludwig, Michelle Ngo, Laura Dawn, Michael Mailer, John Buffalo Mailer|
|Written by||Naomi Wolf, Michelle Ngo, Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg, Patricia Sunshine|
|Music by||Darron Murphy|
|Editing by||Patricia Sunshine|
|Distributed by||IndiePix Films and Snag Films|
|Running time||73 minutes|
The End of America is a 2008 documentary film directed by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, adapted from Naomi Wolf's 2007 book, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. The film is an indictment of policy changes made during the Bush Administration, and makes the case that these changes threaten American democracy. Wolf investigates parallels between the state of civil liberties in the U.S. and those of dictatorships, fascist regimes, and other formerly free societies. Wolf discusses a number of deeply unsettling similarities — from the use of unofficial paramilitary organizations and secret prisons to the targeted suspension of the rule of law.
The End of America details the ten steps a country takes when it slides toward fascism. The film follows Wolf as she takes a historical look at trends in once-functioning democracies from modern history that are being repeated in America today, and puts the recent gradual loss of civil liberties in the U.S. in a historical context. “The average American might not be alarmed at AT&T selling our private information to the Bush administration, but when this action is seen as part of a larger series of erosions and events, a pattern emerges with unfortunate consequences that become disturbingly clear.”
The film's style is similar to that of An Inconvenient Truth in that Wolf presents a lecture, filmed with multiple cameras, to an interactive audience. Break-away segments featuring both talking-head and “fly on the wall” interviews demonstrate the historical echoes and present-day consequences of the erosion of America's Constitution. These interviews are from a diverse collection of individuals, including intelligence community top brass, who are willing to talk on camera about the uselessness of “intelligence” gained through torture. The film also features grassroots political leaders, military generals, and victims of undermined civil liberties.
The Ten Steps
Wolf outlines ten steps that "closing societies" — such as Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy, and Stalin's Russia — have historically followed. These steps, Wolf claims, are being observed in America now.
The steps are:
- Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
- Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
- Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
- Set up an internal surveillance system.
- Harass citizens' groups.
- Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
- Target key individuals.
- Control the press.
- Treat all political dissidents as traitors.
- Suspend the rule of law
The End of America is pioneering a new model of film distribution that includes making the film viewable online free of charge. It has been made available in this way through IndiePix Films and Snag Films.
- "Video: The End of America Movie Trailer". Chelsea Green.