SXSW Film Reviews
This Land Is Your LandD: Lori Cheatle, Daisy Wright
Documentary Feature Competition, World Premiere
"I'm just going to be myself and wear what I'm wearing," says a teenage girl in a man-on-the-street interview. Ironically, she asserts her individuality in an Old Navy T-shirt and a Nike visor. This ambitious social-issues documentary considers what it means to be a person a citizen, a worker, a neighbor in a culture so wallpapered with corporate logos that we scarcely notice them on our own clothes; in a nation where transnational business entities enjoy the rights of personhood under the Constitution; in a society where the public airwaves are controlled by corporations; and individuals who broadcast are criminals. It succeeds by telling revealing stories (a Russian-Orthodox monastery battles Starbucks for the trademarked phrase "Christmas Blend") interspersed with salient commentary (with Jim Hightower and No Logo's Naomi Klein, among others). The filmmakers resist the talking-heads trap, so the film is consistently engaging despite its weightiness. Best is the straightforward coverage of a paper-products plant in Natchez, Miss., closed down by NAFTA; one employee relates, "When my stock goes up I've hurt another working man. ... It's almost as if people don't care whether you live or die." As powerful as Michael Moore's firebrand muckraking but without the grandstanding, This Land is essential viewing.
(Alamo, March 19, 1pm)