THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND (Sam Green, Bill Siegel) Rating: NNNNN
With a foreign war raging and crisis at home, protestors take to the streets. It's a common cocktail in American politics, but it reached its modern height in the late 60s, when the Weatherman group was born. Sam Green and Bill Siegel brilliantly reconstruct the era that saw a bitter split in the student movement lead to underground cells of middle-class white kids planting bombs in government offices. The filmmakers interview former leaders including Bernadine Dohrn, Bill Ayers and David Gilbert, as well as ex-Panther Kathleen Cleaver and radical dissenter Todd Gitlin. It also makes superb use of archive footage, digging up rare images from the 60s through the 80s, but, more important, showing the full length of now iconic clips. Most have seen the picture of a Viet Cong prisoner being executed in the street. This film shows the full horror of that killing.
It's necessary context for the Weathermen's violent acts against America, inconceivable in today's anti-terrorist times. Compelling, timely stuff. Bernadine Dohrn appears at the opening screening. (October 22-26, Bloor)