Devin Griggs: The parties might be reversed and the cultural issues of the 1970s flipped, but American politics since the Nixon-McGovern race has remained fairly fixed and share all of the rhetoric and even less of the substance that once defined American politics.
Ron Wolff: I can’t help thinking what the “deregulation contingent” of political thinkers would do about the situation in Bell, California, where a corrupt city council, in collusion with a city manager accused of criminal activity, raped the treasury of millions of dollars by paying themselves excessive salaries, sometimes for meetings that lasted only a few minutes.
Luis Lopez and Dolores Huerta: Few groups in California have felt the sting of contradiction more sharply than Latinos and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The statewide election on November 2 is a perfect chance for both populations to send a message that picking on us will be punished.
Ed Rampell: One of the worst informers of the Blacklist era was Elia Kazan; nevertheless, I went to see a restored version of Kazan’s 1960 New Deal drama Wild River, co-starring Montgomery Clift, Lee Remick and Jo Van Fleet as a stubborn old lady who refuses to vacate her home as the Tennessee Valley Authority prepares to flood the area. Convincingly playing a character 30 years older than her, Van Fleet’s Big Government hating Ella Garth seems like the grandmother of today’s Tea Party activists. TCM is big on film preservation and it aired a short featuring Martin Scorsese, Anthology Film Archives’ Jonas Mekas, etc., on this subject prior to Wild River.
Charley James and Lulu Demaine: Although technically still a teen, Hot Docs is starting to flex its muscles as one of the most mature, all-documentary festivals in North America. It’s become a major clearing house and debut forum for both accomplished and first-time filmmakers, and an increasingly important venue for the voices of less-mainstream directors.