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The film The Weather Underground was a great way to educate the population about a part of history not many people know about. The film was a documentary by Sam Green and Bill Siegle. The directors used many strategies and elements to make the film effective for the purpose of a documentary, which would be to inform their audience. They used elements like flashbacks of images and news reports, and interviews from now and then along with audio to accomplish their task. They strategically arranged the placement of all of these elements to bring out the viewers emotions and draw them into the piece.
The documentary on The Weather Underground is about a part of the United States history that not many young adult Americans know about. It showed the events that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s that effected how people thought. Some people even called it a revolution. It all started with a group of college students in an organization named Students for a Democratic Society. There were colleges all over the United States with this student organization. The Vietnam War and unequal rights of African American people were the main part of the student organizations concerns. They wanted change in the United States government policies and the only way they saw that happening was to overthrow the United States government. At first the group was for a peaceful protest for their causes. When the Students for a Democratic Society realized that nonviolent tactics were not working several students formed the Weather Underground group and went into hiding. The group would place bombs in planned locations. Then set them off in protest against events or actions the government was involved with. The bombs were not detonated to kill or to injure people, but to get a point across that policies within the United States Government needed to change. The group would make sure someone was notified well ahead of the time the bomb was to detonate so that people could be evacuated from the buildings or areas. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was watching the group throughout its existence. They would use illegal tactics to try and catch the Weather Underground but they failed to complete their task. Finally, the group started to dissemble in 1975 after the war in Vietnam ended, since the War was their main focus they had little to protest against.
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One of the elements of the film that the directors used was flashbacks of the news reports, photos, and videos of time period. It was as if they did not re-master or enhance any of the news footage, they used it as it was back then in the 1960s and 1970s. This element was a good strategic element to use because it put the viewer back in time as if it was the first time the report was being shown. The video flashbacks show the viewer that this is exactly what the member of the group, reporter, or witness said to the public. Throughout the film it was as if the directors did not hold back with what type of footage they put into it. They showed life as it was whether it was good or bad. Another great way the directors used the flashbacks was in the very beginning of the film by showing a clip of the members of the Weather Underground speaking to the public in the 1960s or 1970s, then having them introduce themselves as they are in today’s society. This was a nice way for the directors to show their audience how they have changed and to get to know the members of the group. The different interviews were also a key element for the films success.
The interviews were an excellent element to use in the film for many reasons. One reason is because the people interviewed were directly involved with the Weather Underground; they were not only members but the leadership and masterminds of the group. The interviews were also informative because they did not just sit down in front of a camera and ask questions about the events that took place. They went to the different locations of importance to the events that took place during the time of the Weather Underground. The way the interviews were completed and presented made the tone of the film also. They gave, in some cases, a detailed description over what happened at the location. This strategy left little to the imagination because use it put the viewer there at the “seen of the crime”.
The tone of the documentary The Weather Underground is shocking and sad at the same time. The background audio of the film is exceedingly repetitive and melancholy, which set it up for the mood to be sad. The directors probably did this so that the audience could parallel the feelings of a long war that some people thought would never end, with the monotones audio that occurred in the film. The tone was also both shocking and sad because of the pictures and images that were used. The images were harsh, like the pictures of the Vietnamese families that were slaughtered, but they needed to be shown to really emphasize to the viewers of the documentary, why The Weather Underground was taking such an affirmative action.
Today there are so many news articles and reports about terrorists against the United States that are not Americans and there are some reports about terrorists that are Americans but none have been as big of a group or as organized. This film shows truth and hides nothing about the history of these American terrorists. The film does an excellent job at education their viewers about a part of American History not many people know about. It plays with peoples emotions with what and how the facts are presented to the audience. Certain elements are used and place in an order that most viewers would take to heart. The directors accomplished a superior pursuit to attract the viewer’s attention and inform them about a part of America’s history in the film The Weather Underground.