The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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‘Chicago 10’ documents social significance of protesting

Chicago 10″ is an inspiring film that unveils the injustices that American revolutionaries faced during the crucial time period of the Vietnam War in 1968.

Written and directed by Brett Morgen, “Chicago 10” is a true story documenting the Chicago Conspiracy Trial and the violent suppression by police during protests in Chicago which resulted in dramatic confrontations. The film alternates between footage of the protests in Chicago, and the court room during the trial. All of the scenes during the trial were animated to illustrate the intense verbal battles between the judge and the defendants.

Morgen decided to take a creative approach to the movie by using animation to recapture the Chicago Conspiracy Trial and contemporary music to spark the youth’s attention. The soundtrack includes artists Rage Against the Machine and Eminem, and various reggae artists like Barrington Levy and Gregory Isaacs.

The story revolves around the defendants on trial for the charge of conspiracy, who were Abbie Hoffman, David Dellinger, Jerry Rubin, Rennie Davis, Tom Hayden, cofounder of the Black Panther Party Bobby Seale, John Froines and Lee Weiner. All of these individuals were the most vocal during the protests in Chicago, and in turn were used as scapegoats by the government, so they had someone to point the finger at. Defense attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass also played an important role during the trial. They defended the accused admirably from every verbal attack from Judge Julius Hoffman. There were originally eight defendants charged with conspiracy at the time, however, Morgen decided to title the movie “Chicago 10” because both of the defense attorneys received contempt sentences, rounding out the total of defendants during the ordeal to 10.

Pacifist and activist David Dellinger was a part of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE). He served three years in prison for refusing to register for the military after he was drafted for WWII. Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin were a part of the “Yippies,” or the Youth International Party. Jerry Rubin founded the Vietnam Day Committee (VDC) in 1965, one of the earliest protest groups against the war. Rennie Davis and Tom Hayden were a part of S.D.S. (Students for a Democratic Society). Lee Weiner was a local teaching assistant in sociology at Northwestern University at the time the convention came to Chicago, and John Froines was a part of S.D.S. while attending Yale, and at the time he was head of students for Lyndon Johnson.

During the trial there were no cameras allowed, so Morgen took the challenge of reinventing the trial using animation and a small cast to voice over the defendants during the trial. Familiar actors that voiced over the defendants include Hank Azaria who plays Apu on the Simpsons, Dylan Baker from “Requiem for a Dream” and “Kinsey,” and Roy Scheider who voices the insidious Judge Julius Hoffman.

It is total anarchy in Chicago when a group of radicals who call themselves “Yippies” decide to go to Chicago, during the time when the Democratic National Party held a convention in Chicago in 1968, to protest against the Vietnam War. Rejected numerous times by government officials and the police to march in the streets of Chicago, demonstrators were forced to act upon their convictions as police officers harassed and abused them. Refusing to back down, demonstrators rampaged against police forces while journalists recorded the intense conflict.

The videos encase the frenzied crowds running in horror as police beat bystanders with batons. The struggle between the police and the protesters intensified each day the protesters marched. Sudden screams of fear filled the air, blood dripped on the streets, and citizens struggled with police brutality. At times, the video was nauseating as the person recording had to run away while recording. The cameraman did a superb job of documenting this vital event in America’s history.

This movie’s relevance in today’s world engages a universal concept that justifies the act of uniting and struggling for a cause. It’s an important reminder that a strong, opposing power can overcome a juggernaut government. Present events demand everyone witness this movie. The powerful images and recordings will leave viewers in awe, and the courageous acts will inspire countless others. The act of protesting is a privilege Americans have and should take advantage of when the time reckons. Acknowledging a wrongdoing and acting upon it ascertains a substantial reason to demand re-evaluation and justice.

“Chicago 10” is a highly-recommended movie, and we must not forget the importance of the past when watching this film. History is meant to teach us what happened in the past, so that we may not repeat the same mistakes again.

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