Review: ‘American Blackout’

If all that Ian Inaba's "American Blackout" wants to do is get left Democrats worked up into a lather of righteous anger at crafty Republicans, it does so at the expense of speaking to any other group of Americans. Docu is extremely limited and almost without purpose except as an organizing tool for party foot soldiers.

If all that Ian Inaba’s latest Guerilla News Network missive, “American Blackout,” wants to do is get left Democrats worked up into a lather of righteous anger at crafty Republicans, it does so at the expense of speaking to any other group of Americans. As such, docu is extremely limited and almost without purpose except as an organizing tool for party foot soldiers. Pic, which also raises the profile of Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, whom Inaba views as nothing short of a saint, is a sure thing as a vid item in partisan living rooms.

When “Blackout” isn’t noting how the GOP theoretically stole the 2000 and 2004 general elections with such tactics as reducing voting stations in traditionally African American precincts, it showcases McKinney as a thorn in George W. Bush’s side. Inaba’s pic is shocked, shocked that McKinney lost her Georgia seat in 2002 due to Republicans “crossing over” and voting for her right-wing opponent in the Democratic primary, never noting that it’s a tactic both parties have practiced shamelessly.

American Blackout

Production

A Guerilla News Network production. (International sales: Guerilla News Network, Berkeley, Calif.) Produced by Anastasia King. Executive producers, Jeff Hull, Josh Shore, Anthony Lappe, Stephen Marshall. Directed by Ian Inaba.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W, DV/16mm); editors, Liz Canning, Inaba, Jean-Philippe Boucicaut; music, Mark Batson, Michael Dearden, DJ Shadow, Thievery Corp., Soulsavers. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 23, 2006. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Cynthia McKinney, John Lewis, Greg Palast, Van Jones, Christopher Edley, John Conyers, Mark Davis, Stephanie Tubbs-Jones.
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