Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind

This documentary arrived at our store a few days ago and i was intrigued by the obscure box art, which features the films title followed by a paragraph that reads much like one of Captains reviews.
I thought what the hell? i'll test drive this baby, hey i can play smart.

I wanted to know as little about what i was about to watch as possible so i would have no expectations and would be ready for anything.
Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (the title that had me confused at first but after viewing the film it now makes sense) is relatively about Americas past over the last few hundred years. With a complete focus on the bloody parts.

The film employs an almost sing song pattern that it follows throughout its duration. We are first shown shots of the "whispering wind", mostly shots of various woods or meadows and then shown the "profit motive" so to speak. Which is a shot of either a plaque indicating the location and explanation of a particular brutal event of the past, or the tombstones of people who have passed giving their lives for Americas much coveted freedom.

This pattern is very rarely interrupted, after the first 20 minutes a feeling of monotonous repetition can start to take over. Fortunately director John Gianvito must have clued in on this as the films running time comes out to a fair 58 minutes just in time for when boredom may start to sink in.

There is no soundtrack, just the sounds of what's around any particular shot. It works really well to draw you in especially during "whispering wind" segments, where i found more of my attention focused to as i was nearing the end of the film as oppose to the horrors of the past. Needless to say, the film is visually stunning.

One is quick to note that all of the dead shown here are from within America's own infighting. Any casualties of war with other countries have been left out. Mostly we see victims of massacres that were the end results of labour disputes or rebelling of slavery hence the title "Profit Motive".

John Gianvito is obviously stating sentiments towards civil injustices that continue to happen and reminds us that it wasn't too long ago that the freedoms we take as common sense now were paid for in much spilled blood.

I want to go into more detail of what happens to everybody at the end but i won't ruin it. You'll just have to guess who lives and who dies.
It's kinda like visiting all these important places without ever leaving your couch! neat!
Not for everyone but i certainly enjoyed it and recommend it.


La Sporgenza said...

Top drawer review Kris. Graham watched this and seemed to have a similar take on it. I think I'll drag this one home today and give it a shot. Cool concept.

Graham Watson said...

Yes, me and my lady-friend watched it the other day, I was also drawn in by the title & cover art. I found the inter-cut historic and natural scenes really beautiful, a mixture of a violent history with really gentle scenery (which what a lot of graveyards and historic monuments function as anyways). I know Heather found the chronology a little forced. There was a bit about Natives, then a bit about labour, then African Americans, then a bit about women...kind of a forced inclusion of every leftist issue, and a perception of them as being static in time too (i.e., Native issues are over in this century, now it's time for civil rights issues).

I found it to be a likeable film right up to the end when the Walmarts and G8 protester bits came on. The subtle political message throughout the film was totally lost at this point. And somehow I can't seem to think of hippy kids who dress up in polar bear costumes as having the same revolutionary impact as miners who were shot for wanting an 8 hour work day. Maybe that's just me.

Dropkick said...

me sentiments exactly Mr. Watson!

The shots of big business were a little clever given the juxtaposition of trees blocking out their full names yet it felt out of place. The rush of the protest at the end felt out of place, as many of these protests are against the Iraq War, protests i felt didn't connect to the plaques and tombstones we were just shown for the past hour.

Although, the final shot really swooned me. The long shot of tree and meadow as the wind first whispers and then picks up force. Something about that shot really made it for me.

the coelacanth said...

this sounds like something i'll either love or hate. i think i'll love it. but i might hate it. i think i'll watch it to be sure.

Britarded said...

That was brave I found that sleeve about is appealing as a scab sandwich. Sounds like it paid off though, nice1