The East

>> Friday, February 1, 2013

I saw this kind of on a whim; although its subject matter is something I thought was interesting back when I read a short synopsis while filming. I almost didn't buy a ticket, but changed my mind last Saturday when I felt I needed something different to do on my weekend.

Sundance tickets are $15 each. After seeing three festival films in 2010, I haven't felt the need to attend for quite a while. Part of that is because of weather, money, and work. Also, you usually can catch them later in the year much more cheaply.

But I went yesterday and wasn't disappointed.

Although I was surprised that Peery's Egyptian Theater in Ogden sells BEER at its concession stand. BEER at a movie theater in UTAH! Is this just a Sundance thing? Do they do this at Park City too? Or is this just unique to Peery's Egyptian? I have no idea and am not going to bother to find out.

I'm not going to give a synopsis of the film since that can be found elsewhere. The one thing I truly enjoy about seeing films at Sundance or other film festivals is that I don't have to encounter a barrage of advertising about it before seeing it. I can just go in, see it, and form my own opinion.

It's interesting that while I was speed walking back to my car after it was over that I heard and saw two young guys talking about activism while they were leaving. I don't remember their remarks, but I find it interesting that I thought a lot about the fictional group's motivations for their actions.

"The system is broken."

The first thing that popped into my head while watching The East is that I hope more people realize that corporate espionage agencies, like the one portrayed in the film, actually exist. It's bad enough that the government spies on its own citizens in almost unlimited fashion, but there are corporations doing it too! And I'm not going to give those firms the benefit of the doubt that they're contributing to anything good in the world. They're not. If this film can get some sort of wide release, I think that would open some good conversations on why we have corporate intelligence firms in existence. Because that Julia Roberts-Clive Owen film was way too happy and too long ago for people to realize that those companies are spying ON YOU.

But that phrase, "The system is broken," is something that appeared in The East multiple times. It stuck with me a little bit, and I could definitely see where the writers got it after watching If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front later the same night. Why did members of the ELF resort to arson and property damage? Because they felt the system was broken and that their concerns could not and would not be addressed in anyway.
Which begins to feel like a lot of movements these days since the people's movements that created so much change in the '50s and '60s don't seem to make a dent in things.

And that made me wonder: why isn't there a group like The East? Or, perhaps, when will there be a group like The East to come about?

Or is that just still to come, like, say in a future populist revolt?

Would that be in 2015? 2016?

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