Thursday, March 11, 2010

Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2003)

Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst is a documentary about the short-lived radical political group that caused a media frenzy in the early '70s. Filmmaker Robert Stone incorporates archival footage, news clips, and contemporary interviews with SLA founder Russ Little and member Mike Bortin. Most of the film focuses on their much-publicized act of domestic terrorism: the kidnapping of Patty Hearst in 1974. The group held the 19-year-old college student hostage, demanding that her father, William Randolph Hearst, give millions of dollars to the poor. Later, the girl was said to have joined the group on a crime spree throughout the West Coast. Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst was shown was shown at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival as part of the documentary competition (under the working title Neverland: The Rise and Fall of the Symbionese LIberation Army), and later aired on the PBS documentary series American Experience. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 89 mins
Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2003)
Although it was not explicitly stated all possible tie-ins between The Weather Underground and the ALS but it does cover the basic atmosphere of the "rhizome" groups that rose up in the Berkeley radical centers. So for me it filled in more of the background information about the other groups. Just like the Weather Underground, they had most of their tapes played on KPFA in Berkeley and one of the communiqués was the same voice used in the broadcast of the WU ones also which must have been by a radio announcer at the time.

One of the special features was the director, Robert Stone, providing the commentator tract. A very insightful special feature that showed that he studied the ALS in depth including he noted that after them going underground they became more cult like than a movement for change. He compared them to the Jim Jones cult and upon reflection that is exactly the outcome of the WU "sect" also, IMHO. They also in essence became media whores as they relished the limelight more than the glorious revolution.

The director said he limited the number that were interviewed so that he felt it avoided a bias film as well as falling into a he said, she said scenario. He did not even interview Patty Hearst and only included a small interview that was publicly aired aside from the audio tapes when she was part of the gang.

They also included the camera recordings of the bank robberies. The most unsettling special feature was when Bill Harris directly spoke to John {?} Opsahl without remorse and more like excusing himself. I did not watch it all because it was so condescending. When John had his turn, I would have used his words against him when he had the chance.

Another glorious revolution that ended in some senseless murders...

PS: The movie time-line ended with the convictions so Wiki can fill in some details at Symbionese Liberation Army.

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