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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Politics > Court > Legal > Sexual Harassment > Sex & Justice: Anita Hill vs. Clarence Thomas (First Run Features/DocumentaryDVD)

Sex & Justice: Anita Hill vs. Clarence Thomas (First Run DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Documentary: B



After the election of Barack Obama as president, the Reagan/Neo-Conservative era ended and in its wake, much unresolved business and issues that have effected everyone in this country and beyond will finally be addressed and return from much censorship and repression.  One such subject is the Supreme Court battle over the confirmation of current Justice Clarence Thomas, an ultra-conservative who flew in the face of what many centrists and liberals considered too extreme and one who flew in the face of their definition of progress.  No matter your opinion, Sex & Justice: Anita Hill vs. Clarence Thomas revisits the controversy over Hill’s accusations of sexual harassment and even today, they go beyond politics.


Hosted by no less than Gloria Steinem, this documentary highlights and shows pretty chronologically how the hearings began, how ugly they became, how certain conservatives (Orrin Hatch and Arlen Specter in particular) got on their male high horse & attacked Hill on a personal level and how bad things had become in this country that this hearing could be so out of control as it was on an ethical and moral level simply because Neo-Conservatives wanted to slant the highest court in the land.


Of course, the underlying thing here is not whether Hill was telling the truth (and apparently she was correct about something (undetermined or undeterminable?) or she would not have been attacked in advance like this) but that because she was a woman, she was guilty until proven innocent.  Specter nearly lost his seat and Hatch proved he was willing to be a good hatchet man for the party no matter what.  Some Democrats did try to defend her, but it only worked so well.  It also explains why feeling run deep for Hillary Clinton; that is how bad these hearing were.


Julian Schlossberg manages to cut the long ordeal into 77 intense minutes of a world where the power imbalance between women and men is reiterated with the saddest possible results.  The conclusion was a warning to all women who “got out of line” that the same thing would happen to them if they ever spoke out against the wrong man/men in power and 17 years later, not enough has changed to make sure this never happened again.  If anything, it all got worse until the Bush II Administration, economy and Republican Party tanked to the Obama win, yet nothing has really changed yet.  Now this dark chapter in justice can be studied and learned from again.



The 1.33 X 1 image has been edited from the analog NTSC video footage of the time, but is soft and though it could look a bit better if transfer3d from more direct recordings of the events, it would not be by much more than you see here.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is a mix of stereo and mono, with location audio typically going back and fourth from clarity to noise and echo.  There are no extras.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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