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Considering that its writer/director used to be on Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s staff, it’s not surprising that American Autumn: An Occudoc is an impassioned celebration of the Occupy Wall Street movement. But while this documentary by Dennis Trainor, Jr. is not likely to convert anyone, it does offer an evocative and historically valuable portrait of the protest’s early days in such cities as New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.
Featuring extensive footage of the often contentious rebellion, it also includes extensive interviews with many of its key figures, as well as such well-known social commentators who spoke at the rallies as Naomi Klein, Dr. Cornel West, Michael Moore and others. But the most dramatic moments are not surprisingly provided by scenes of protestors clashing with police and chanting the now famous “We are the 99%” slogan.
But like so many recent documentaries, American Autumn overreaches, attempting to provide not just an account of the Occupy Wall Street movement but also a comprehensive critique of modern American society. Using the “greed is good” speech delivered by Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street as a touchstone, it goes on to provide a dizzying array of damning facts and figures about subjects including financial inequality, the military-industrial complex, climate change, student debt and nearly every other social ill afflicting the country.
The results are informative but scattershot, with so much information packed into the brief 75- minute running time that audience fatigue is likely to set in early. The onslaught of data is somewhat alleviated by the frequently imaginative use of graphics and music that at least add some needed stylistic diversity to the often dry proceedings.
Opens: Sept. 28 (Artful Dodger Productions)
Director/writer/executive producer: Dennis Trainor, Jr.
Directors of cinematography: Kevin Egan, Asher Platts, Dennis Trainor, Jr.
Editors: AJ Russo, Dennis Trainor, Jr.
Composer: Goldi, Mike Lawrence-Yanecelli.
Not rated, 75 min.
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