The War on Democracy
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|The War on Democracy|
|Directed by||Christopher Martin|
|Produced by||Wayne Young|
|Written by||John Pilger|
|Distributed by||Lions Gate|
|15 June 2007 (United Kingdom)|
The War on Democracy is a 2007 documentary film directed by the British filmmakers Christopher Martin and John Pilger, who also wrote the narration. Focusing on the political situations in nations of Latin America, the film criticizes both the United States' intervention in foreign countries' domestic politics and its "War on Terrorism". The film was first released in the United Kingdom on June 15, 2007.
The film was produced over a two-year period. Carl Deal, chief archivist on the Michael Moore films Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, provided the archive footage used in the film. It is mastered in high-definition video.
The War on Democracy was screened at both the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and the Galway Film Festival. The film was sold to distributors Lionsgate for distribution in the U.K. and Hopscotch distribution in Australia and New Zealand. Pre-release screening took place at two Fopp locations on June 12, 2007, including one that was followed by a question and answer session with co-director John Pilger.
[Pilger] recounts the shabby tale of how the postwar United States set about... [removing] inconvenient nationalisers in small countries, using phoney pretexts cooked up with the help of compliant media... Pilger makes no secret of his own admiration for Chávez, a Bolivarian hero who has had the effrontery to survive without kowtowing to the mighty superpower. But how about Chávez's decision to bypass the National Assembly for 18 months, and rule by decree? Pilger passes over it very lightly. Maybe he thinks that questioning Chávez on this point would be playing into the hands of the smearmongers. Maybe. But he's in dereliction of his journalistic duty, just the same... But however posterity depicts [Chavez], the truth of Pilger's overall story is plain enough.
By any standards his latest outing was an impressive polemic, but by any standards, too, Pilger's patsy questioning of President Chávez was a disgrace ("You are deeply committed to the Venezuela people. Where does that come from?"). Even [the] New Statesman, in a recent cover story, has suggested that Chávez is halfway to becoming a dictator. All Pilger parenthetically conceded was that Chávez "recently announced temporary presidential powers that bypass parliament".
James Walton in The Daily Telegraph thought that while "Pilger stressed that Venezuela's potential utopia is under threat", he "made exactly the same claims for Chavez that he was making for the Sandinistas in Nicaragua" in the 1980s. In Pilger's account of US involvement in Latin America, Walton wrote, "while this was the most familiar section of the programme, it was also the most powerful and persuasive – because, once he was attacking his baddies, Pilger duly seemed on more solid ground. His recital, pretty polished by now, included chapter and verse on American involvement in torture, massacres and terrorism. He exposed (again) "the epic lie" that this was done for the sake of democracy".
The War on Democracy won the One World Media TV Documentary Award in 2008.
The War on Democracy grossed $199,500 at the box office in Australia.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, documentary filmed from within the Chavez camp during the failed coup of 2002.
- South of the Border, documentary by Oliver Stone
- Bolivarian revolution
- Hugo Chávez
- Economy of Venezuela
- One World Media Awards, One World Broadcasting Trust, 2008
- "Pilger's 'War' sold to U.K., Oz/N.Z.", Variety, 17 May 2007
- Bradshaw, Peter (15 June 2007). "The War on Democracy". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
- Billen, Andrew (21 August 2007). "Last Night's TV". The Times. London. Retrieved 13 October 2015. (subscription required)
- Walton, James (21 August 2007). "The weekend on television: The Truth About Boy Bands (ITV1)/The Muslm Jesus (ITV1)". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
- Whelan, Natalie (13 June 2008). "One World Media Awards: BBC Radio 4 and the Guardian triumph". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
- "Australian Films at the Australian Box Office" Archived July 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Film Victoria