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in Filmmaking
on Sep 9, 2007

Alfonso Cuaron’s latest film is playing at the Toronto Film Festival, but you can see it now, for free, online, below… It’s his collaboration with Jonas Cuaron and author Naomi Klein that accompanies Klein’s latest book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing summarizes the book’s thesis thusly:

…present-day global capitalism took hold when its advocates learned to exploit disasters. After a disaster (war, tsunami, terrorist attack), you can push your agenda for worsening labor conditions, looser regulation, and pocket-lining exercises (Enron, Halliburton) while the reeling, disaster-struck population of the world has its attention elsewhere.

Klein attributes this technique to Milton Friedman, who is reported to have said that “only a crisis — real or perceived — produces real change.” She connects this idea to the fundamental notion underpinning CIA torture techniques (as reported in CIA interrogation manuals from 1963 and 1983) — to produce a state of shock in which the victim is out of control of her faculties, a “suspended animation” that can be exploited to get victims to do things that violate their own ethics or beliefs.

The Guardian is posting a series of edited extracts from the book — here’s the first. And the book has its own website, full of resources, including a filmography of the sources Klein used in her research.

The short film itself is embedded below. Here’s Klein’s intro:

“When I finished The Shock Doctrine, I sent it to Alfonso Cuarón because I adore his films and felt that the future he created for Children of Men was very close to the present I was seeing in disaster zones. I was hoping he would send me a quote for the book jacket and instead he pulled together this amazing team of artists — including Jonás Cuarón who directed and edited — to make The Shock Doctrine short film. It was one of those blessed projects where everything felt fated.”

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