Thanks to Chris Thompson for creating the featurette “The Making of The Pool”, which is premiering this week at the Milwaukee International Film Festival.
The 55-minute film chronicles the team making, you guessed it, “The Pool”, Chris Smith‘s latest. It documents pretty nicely the editing process — in a nail biting sequence — featuring our own Barry Poltermann, who spent five months in India editing the film on location.
The reviews are in from the premier of our latest editorial effort, COLLAPSE, which just premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.
Acclaimed filmmaker Chris Smith (AMERICAN MOVIE, THE YES MEN) returns to nonfiction (after a brief dalliance with narrative THE POOL) to tell the story of Michael Ruppert, a former LAPD officer who predicted the world economic freefall on his self-published newsletter. In COLLAPSE, Smith allows Ruppert to hold forth on what’s coming next. (Spoiler alert: we’re fucked.)
In a short review, IONCINEMA’s Eric Lavallee predicts COLLAPSE will be the doc that people remember from TIFF ’09:
Joshua Rothkopf, writing at Time Out New York, was riveted:
Scott Tobias at the Onion’s A/V Club grades the film an “A”:
At Row Three, Mike Rot gives the film 4 1/2 stars (out of 5):
Phil Brown at martiniboys.com calls COLLAPSE “easily the finest movie” Smith has made since AMERICAN MOVIE:
(Documentary Feature, 2009, Premiere TIFF)
Meet Michael Ruppert, a different kind of American. A former Los Angeles police officer turned independent reporter, he predicted the 2008 financial crisis in his self-published newsletter, From the Wilderness, at a time when most of Wall Street and Washington analysts were still in denial.
The current documentary landscape is chockfull of doom-laden scenarios of every stripe: If global warming (An Inconvenient Truth) doesn’t get you, then maybe genetically engineered Frankenfoods (Food, Inc.), will. Or contaminated water (Flow). Or crushing personal (Maxed Out) and national (I.O.U.S.A.) debt. But few apocalyptic visions are as comprehensive and frighteningly assured as the one offered by Michael Ruppert, the subject of Chris Smith’s mesmerizing new documentary Collapse. A former Los Angeles police officer turned independent reporter, Ruppert has chased big stories for his self-published newsletter, From The Wilderness, on everything from CIA involvement in drug trafficking to the current economic crisis, which he claims to have predicted long before it gobsmacked the mainstream media. His latest obsession is the issue of “peak oil,” the concern that oil production has reached its apex, and as fossil fuels decline, our entire industrial and economical infrastructure will collapse along with it.
Shooting the tortured, chain-smoking Ruppert inside what looks like a bunker, Smith’s film takes the form of Errol Morris’ The Fog Of War, illustrating long, feverishly intense monologues with dazzling montages. Ruppert may appear like just another crackpot, the sort of obscure, raving prophet who regularly offers up worst-case scenarios in Glenn Beck’s War Room. (Or Stephen Colbert’s Doom Bunker, for that matter.) But he isn’t an ideologue, which makes his Chicken Little panic more authentic—as do his confident voice and meticulously crafted arguments. The scope of his argument is suspiciously immense, yet thought through to the smallest detail; every time a “Yeah, but” question comes up (as in “Yeah, but what about these alternative energy sources?” or “Yeah, but what about human innovation?”), Ruppert has an answer. “I don’t deal in conspiracy theory,” he says. “I deal in conspiracy fact.”
That said—and this is important to remember—Collapse is by no means an endorsement of Ruppert’s worldview. Smith (American Movie) has enough faith in his audience to allow them to sort it out for themselves. He gives Ruppert the floor, but his occasional interjections question whether his subject has walled himself into an argument by accepting only the information that supports his point of view. And in several exceptionally poignant moments, he also allows us to see an angry, lonely, vulnerable man whose life epitomizes the title as much as the globe does. There are many layers to the man and the movie, and it’s hard not to leave the theater shaken.
Scott Tobias, The Onion / AV Club
A Library Films Production
Directed by Chris Smith
Edited by Barry Poltermann
Music By Joe Wong & Didier Leplae