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The Corporation

Year: 2003
Language: English
Format: Digital Betacam (NTSC) Colour
Runtime: 145 min
Director: Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbot
Producer: Mark Achbar, Bart Simpson
Executive Producer: Mark Achbar
Writer: Mark Achbar, Harold Crooks, Joel Bakan
Cinematographer: Mark Achbar, Kirk Tougas, Rolf Cutts, Jeff Koffman
Editor: Jennifer Abbot
Sound: Velcrow Ripper
Music: Leonard Paul
Narration: Mikela Mikael
Production Company: Big Picture Media Corporation

Compelling, comprehensive, unsettling and enlightening, this complex and exhaustive documentary examines the far-reaching repercussions of the increasing dominance of corporations. The Corporation traces the beginnings of the corporation as a legal entity 150 years ago and the unusual powers conferred on it throughout its evolution. Noting that the corporation legally has the status of a person, the film asks what kind of person it is and scientifically concludes that it exhibits the personality traits of a psychopath.

Based on Joel Bakan’s book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, the film offers a timely, critical inquiry into what has become the dominant institution of our era, and also recounts moral and legal victories against this apparently invincible force. Mark Achbar, co-director of the influential Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992), teams up with Bakan and editor Jennifer Abbot to examine the corporation’s unexamined pursuit of profit and power and observe the innumerable, inevitable consequences that follow from this goal. A dense, multi-layered film, it presents the corporation as a paradox that generates great wealth even as it does enormous – and often hidden – harm.

Though an intensely provocative and highly effective example of agit-prop filmmaking, The Corporation avoids a sense of excessively partisan rhetoric through an impressive range of over forty interview subjects, ranging from CEO’s to whistle blowers, brokers to gurus, spies and intellectuals. Among those represented are top executives from Pfizer, Goodyear Tire, Royal Dutch Shell, Burson Marsteller and IBM, as well as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow, Michael Moore and Mark Kingwell.

The Corporation won a Special Jury Award at the Amsterdam International Film Festival, as well as the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival. It was voted Most Popular Canadian Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival, was a runner-up for the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival® and was named one of Canada’s Top Ten of 2003 by an independent, national panel comprised of filmmakers, programmers, journalists and industry professionals. It was extremely well received by critics and audiences upon its commercial release in Canada, where it has grossed over $1 million, more than any other Canadian documentary. It is scheduled to be released in select American markets beginning in June, 2004.

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