‘The Trial of The Chicago 7’ (2020) Is a Wonderful Film

The 2020 Netflix film ‘The Trial of The Chicago 7’ is an historically based telling of a large protest which turned into a riot, and the ensuing court case of several of the leaders of the protests. It is not the same film one would make if one wanted to frame the ‘1968 Democratic National Convention Riot’, but it encompasses that story. Because the protesters went there in frustration over arguably the same force which puts them on trial in its wake– power without rectification — the stars align so that the film ends where it begins. With a raised fist, in defiance of dehumanization. Over the course of the 2 hour film, dominated by the implacable, obscenely corrupt judge presiding, the actors– individuals, through developments in the story of their lives, whose consciences are laid bare, — clash- and the rift is rending clearly over those who would hide in the workings of an established machine… and those who shirk and dare. The greatest story here is the interplay of styles between those who arguably (argued in the film’s dialogue, but also offered in a manner that respects the larger context of hearts and minds, alive and complex) fight for CULTURAL REVOLUTION, versus… POLITICAL REVOLUTION. Abbie Hoffman representing the former, Tom Hayden the latter. Whether pranks the Yippies actually played out during the protests like holding a mock election with a pig, or chanting and trying to ‘levitate the pentagon’ have some worth beyond… their moment? The joy and laughter of the action? The release from the oppresive reality of what amounts to the human condition. While Hayden at one point insists, ‘winning elections’ is what matters, Hoffman wins that argument by saying in effect, we’re not on trial because of what we did.. but because of who we are. In effect, this will always come back to a difference in STYLE. Which is why…

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