Dir: Patrea Patrick. US-Canada. 2012. 96mins

American Empire

Though its tale of corporate shenanigans, bank manipulation and environmental damage is a familiar one in recent documentaries, Patrea Patrick’s absorbing documentary – while being completely one-sided – is a gripping, provocative and at times depressing analysis of the current state of the US.

American Empire: An Act Of Collective Madness makes its case very clearly and is backed up by some smart and thoughtful interviews.

American Empire: An Act Of Collective Madness, which had its world premiere at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival makes great use of a smart group of thinkers, campaigners and analysts alongside some evocative archival material to present the case that corporations have developed a secret empire…and one that that is bent on exploiting the world.

With subject matters covered including the establishment of the Federal Reserve Act - by a cabal of powerful individuals in 1910, who met in secret for just over a week at a remote island to draft a bill for Congress, enabling them to control inflation – through to how major US agribusiness corporations are working with government to hamper the integrity of food, the film clearly and concisely presents some rather unpalatable facts.

As Maude Barlow, author of Blue Gold, states:” The American Empire truly is in many ways killing the planet,” with writer Tarqi Ali adding:” Who owns this country? The rich and the very rich.”

With director – and producer, cinematographer and editor – Patrea Patrick handling the voice-over as well, the sheer determined intensity of her desire to tell her story is clear, and even though the arguments are all from one side it is hard to see what any corporate spin-doctor might have added to the story.

Though a number of recent films have dipped their toes into the antics of corporations and banks and also analysed the situation regards food and nature in the US, at least American Empire: An Act Of Collective Madness makes its case very clearly and is backed up by some smart and thoughtful interviews. And while the debates about banks and corporations may sound familiar, it is the section that tackles how food production is being manipulated that somehow makes it all so much more close and personal.

As Gerald Celente, publisher of Trends Journal comments about the US: “The fattest nation on earth…that is where we are number 1,” before the film details how agribusiness wiped the small farmer off the map, instituted widespread use of pesticides and persists with a policy of monoculture that leads to the erosion of top soil and creation of dust bowl.

The film also wears its eco-conscious credential well and truly on its cinematic sleeve. As the end credits proudly states:” No food was eaten in the making of this film that wasn’t organic.”

Production company/sales: Heartfelt Gilms, L.L.C., treapatra.films@gmail.com

Producers: Jack Tucker, Patrea Patrick, Brian Jamieson, Frank Johnson

Screenplay: Jack Tucker, Patrea Patrick

Cinematography/editor: Patrea Patrick

Music: Shane Jordan

Website: www.americanempirethedocumentary.com