Investigation Of A Flame – A Documentary Portrait
Of The Catonville Nine (Political)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C Film: B-
are always portrayed as “Godless” and “Communist” and as “traitors” by the
ignorant, but the interesting case of The Catonville Nine, who included three
priests among those who went into a Draft office in Maryland on May 17, 1968
and used homemade napalm to burn hundreds of selective service records is
different. Howard Zinn joins in the
too-short 45 minutes about the then and now of it all.
course, long after the U.S. Draft was officially abolished, they were all still
wanted people and this is even though decades later so many have been pardoned,
especially draft dodgers. They were not
even connected to the big organized fronts, but the act of doing this was so
daring and subversive that they are even happy into their twilight years to be
criminals. Though not the big ka-boom
political film we have had lately, there is something to be said for its subtly. However, I wish it was longer.
Lynne Sachs treats this with the proper sensitivity and brings up one last
point. When showing it to special
audiences, she gets the obligatory (and obvious self-censorship) question about
what kind of example this is setting for children. I’ll save her response for the viewer, but it
is one of the most ignorant questions anyone can ask, whether they realize it
or not. Isn’t it just a backhanded way
of telling someone to “shut-up” so they can tell everyone else to do the
same? Why help people this
self-hating? Just because children see
this does not mean they’ll do it, but those who think children are this stupid
think the same of adults, so just imagine their opinion of people in
general. That is why speaking up is
important and doing something sometimes is the right thing. The Catonville Nine did more harm than good
in the long run and would not have had to do what they did in the first place
if so many things were right in the first place.
X 1 image varies throughout originating on analog NTSC videotape with stills,
Super 8mm film and black and white news footage. The editing is not bad and is always
interesting for its short length. The
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is simple and sometimes the audio is undeniably
boosted mono, but it works fine for what it is.
The only extra is a five minutes long update about the principles and
all are worth a look.
- Nicholas Sheffo