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Weather Underground

Lili Taylor , Pamela Z , Bill Siegel , Sam Green    Unrated   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 24.99
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Revisionist History June 29 2004
By A Customer
Thirty-four years ago this past January, Bernardine Dohrn, Jeff Jones, Howard Machtinger (pictured,although never mentioned in the DVD) among others, established their murderous foco (communist collective) in the San Francisco Bay area, intent upon killing cops. They built anti-personnel bombs and detonated them at The Berkeley, CA Police Department, injuring officers there on February 13, 1970. (If you listened closely to the narrative on this DVD you heard about indictments in Detroit by a grand jury that were handed down, for those bombings-FBI illegalities quashed them later). Another bombing committed by the WU three days later, took the life of a police officer. Although Dohrn and her FOCO know they injured and killed, a close examination of their words will note they said they never injured anyone with their bombs-after the March townhouse mistake. Ayers and others say they learned to build bombs and operate weapons by themselves. They fail to mention their weapon and bomb-making training in Cuba, by Cuban Intelligence(DGI), the North Vietnamese and even the Soviet KGB, (in Cuba and Canada and other countries). Nor do Green and Seigel mention the Venceremos Brigades. VB is a very large part of this story. American radicals began taking training there in 1969. The intelligence agencies mentioned above taught our young communist/anarchists how to "bring the war home to Amerika". But this story is about Communism and the overthrow of Democracy-not the Vietnam war! The Venceremos Brigades recruits still go to Cuba today, to learn ways to bring terrorism, not only to the U.S., but anywhere there is a chance to re-establish Communism. Castro's embargo by the United States will never be lifted as long as he continues to train anarchists. Ever heard of the ALF and the ELF? Read more ›
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2.0 out of 5 stars Footnote to history for 60s nostagiacs only June 24 2004
In the film there is only one voice that speaks for the legitimate left--Todd Gitlin, who articulates well just how counter-revolutionary (in terms of effect) these brats were. What they didn't seem to understand was that the real revolution had already taken place, and it was lead peacefully by people like Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy and by their heroes in the Black Panthers.
The main thing that sticks in my craw about this documentary is that it leaves out some of the more disturbing statements and deeds by weather underground members--e.g., Bernardine Dohrn's commentary on the Manson killings.
At a 1969 "War Council" to launch the WU, Dohrn gave a three fingered "fork salute" to Charles Manson, whom she apparently regarded as some sort of revolutionary inspiration. She then made jokes about Manson's victims and dubbed them the "Tate Eight" after Sharon Tate, the pregnant actress whom members of the Manson tribe stabbed in the womb with a fork. "Dig it," said Dohrn at the time. "First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, they even shoved a fork into a victim's stomach! Wild!"
That the producers would omit such a revealing (and yet horrifying) statement by one of the main subjects of the film does lead one to question their motives, especially when the producers do spend some time on the Manson killings and even include gruesome footage of Manson's victims. Perhaps Dohrn refused to appear on film if the producers brought it up. I don't know. Imagine what a post-revolutionary world led by this broad might have looked like. Well in 1969 I'm guessing none of them had the time to read Robert Conquest's just-published "The Great Terror".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful look at American 60s radicals June 13 2004
In some ways, the group known as the Weather Underground (originally the Weathermen, an offshoot of Students for a Democratic Society) were more a symbol of 1960s radical idealism than a real revolutionary movement. Although they planted many bombs during a decade-long period, they never did anything that seriously threatened the government or power structure. Their goal, of course, was to spark a mass movement and inspire others to follow their example, but they remained essentially marginalized. The film, The Weather Underground does a good job at letting members of this group explain their motives and, in some cases, misgivings about their foray into revolution. Directors Bill Siegel and Sam Green seem to be sympathetic with the movement, and most of the material is told from the point of view of members. Leaders of the group Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers have retained their radical views and are anything but apologetic about their past actions.
Most members of the group, despite the bombings, were committed to not harming people. This brings up a rather blatant omission in the film -Kathy Boudin, perhaps the group's most notorious member (for her participation in a robbery where a man was killed) is not mentioned at all. This was an unfortunate decision, apparently done to portray the Weathermen as essentially nonviolent. To leave out such a well known chapter in the group's history leaves a gaping hole. Still, the parts that are included are fascinating and give a glimpse into the idealism and naivete of these leftist radicals.
In retrospect, it is (at least from one perspective) a little sad to see how little long term effect the 1960s counterculture had on society. It seems that they were no match for the propaganda machine of the government and mass media.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars "When you feel you have right on your side, you can do some horrific...
This is an interesting and well-made documentary that tracks the evolution of "The Weather Underground", a late 60s and early 70s USA radical movement that used violent means in... Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2009 by M. B. Alcat
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Bias
Weather Underground doesn not seemed to be a bias look at the organization. It doesnt say their actions were good, they let the people speak for themselves. Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by chicoer2003
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent historical treatment
I am absolutely opposed to violence as a form of protest so the Weather Underground was not a group I agreed with, yet, one could agrue that they did play a role in the Vietnam... Read more
Published on July 9 2004 by Uncle Elmer
1.0 out of 5 stars Spoiled Brats
Where do I sign up for the FBI? And if a few rules are broken - shock! - to break these guys up, so be it. And if they use their rich connections to get out of jail time... Read more
Published on July 7 2004 by Ann Lesters
5.0 out of 5 stars Great To See Them Again.
This is an effective and educational film that offers insight into a vanished time and place. I loved and respected Weather at the time, and still do. Read more
Published on June 30 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat biased documentary
The documentary is interesting and the filmmakers clearly did their research. They take their time connecting the relationships for the viewers and showing the politics of the time... Read more
Published on June 21 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A sad snapshot that still resonates today
Shocking, engrossing, enlightening and ultimately heartbreaking, "The Weather* Underground" is a new documentary that should probably be seen by just about anybody who... Read more
Published on June 11 2004 by Clare Quilty
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational!!
"Every generation needs a new revolution." --Thomas Jefferson
As a twentysomething, this film made me really wish I had lived during the 60s, a time of change when... Read more
Published on June 10 2004 by Lukas Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars No steps forward, two steps back!
If Reagan perfected political theater, The Weathermen perfected politics as melodrama! If politics were Dynasty, they'd be Joan Collins! Read more
Published on June 8 2004 by Aaron
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good first step
A good reason to buy this DVD is that the two commentaries - the director's and that of two of the principals - taken together with the film itself makes a far more provocative... Read more
Published on June 6 2004 by Dia Ballou
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