Chicago Ten


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The 2007 Sundance Film Festival will open with the world premiere of Brett Morgen's "Chicago 10," a new documentary about the 1968 protests around the Democratic covention in Chicago. Morgen's film combines historical footage, interviews, animation and music to tell the story and also explore the subsequent Chicago Conspiracy Trial the following year.

The film explores the build-up and aftermath of the week-long anti-war demonstrations staged during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, during which protestors clashed with the Chicago Police Department and the National Guard. It presents contemporary history through a mix of bold and original animation with extraordinary archival footage that allows the film to move back and forth between the protests on the streets of Chicago and the resulting courtroom chaos. Set to the music of revolution, then and now, Chicago 10 is a story of young Americans speaking out and taking a stand in government policies.

The defendants included David Dellinger, John Froines, Tom Hayden, Jerry Rubin, Lee Weiner, Abbie Hoffman, and Rennie Davis. Bobby Seale was the eighth indicted person, but was separated from the trial.

Chicago 10 is from River Road Entertainment and Participant Productions and was produced by Vanity Fair magazine's Graydon Carter and Morgen. The executive producers are William Pohlad, Laura Bickford, Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Peter Schlessel and Ricky Strauss.

So... what is Jewish about Chicago 10 ?

Well, perhaps it is a film of Jewish interest, because Judge Julius Hoffman, Defense Attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass, some defendants (including Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin), some un-indicted participants (including Stew Albert), and others were of Jewish heritage. Voiceovers in the film are by actors including include voice overs by Lev Schreiber, Hank Azaria, Mark Ruffalo, Dylan Baker, Nick Nolte, Roy Scheider and Attorney Leonard Weinglass.

At one point in the trial, Abbie Hoffman, in a New England Jewish accent, said to the Honorable Judge Hoffman, "Shanda fur de goyim!"- "You disgrace the Jews for the sake of the gentiles!"

Speaking of Jewish aspects of the trial, Pnina Lahav once published an essay titled, "The Chicago Conspiracy Trial as a Jewish Morality Play" as well as "The Chicago Conspiracy Trial and Law's Role in Shaping American Jewish Identity." The former focuses on attorney William Kunstler and the two battling Hoffmans, Judge Julius and Abbie, and explores a common American condition, that of ethnic identification -- "the phenomenon of the hyphenated-American identity and its interaction with law."

Lahav weaves a fascinating tale, well told, of three individuals involved in the "Chicago Seven" conspiracy trial at the end of the sixties, "one a staunch Republican, wealthy, conservative; the second, a civil rights activist with a long record as a fighter for racial equality; the third, a philosopher clown, a self-appointed spokesperson for the counterculture and founder of the Yippie movement." For Judge Hoffman, law became a means toward assimilation in the broader elite culture of America; for Bill Kunstler, a means toward employing the special Jewish sense of injustice toward expanded civil rights; for Abbie Hoffman, a means toward exaggerating his outsider status.


Chicago 10

Written & Directed by Brett Morgen

Produced by Laura Bickford, William Pohlad, Peter Schlessel, Jeffrey Skoll, Ricky Strauss, Diane Weyermann

Music by Jeff Danna

Edited by Stuart Levy

Production companies: Consolidated Documentaries, Participant Productions, River Road Entertainment, Curious Pictures

Distributed by Roadside Attractions

Box office: $177,490

Chicago 10: Speak Your Peace is a 2007 American partially animated film written and directed by Brett Morgen that tells the story of the Chicago Eight. The film features the voices of Hank Azaria, Dylan Baker, Nick Nolte, Mark Ruffalo, Roy Scheider, Liev Schreiber, James Urbaniak, and Jeffrey Wright in an animated reenactment of the trial based on transcripts and rediscovered audio recordings. It also contains archival footage of Abbie Hoffman, David Dellinger, William Kunstler, Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, Tom Hayden, and Leonard Weinglass, and of the protest and riot itself. The title is drawn from a quote by Rubin, who said, "Anyone who calls us the Chicago Seven is a racist. Because you're discrediting Bobby Seale. You can call us the Chicago Eight, but really we're the Chicago Ten, because our two lawyers went down with us."


Hank Azaria as Abbie Hoffman / Allen Ginsberg
Dylan Baker as David Dellinger / David Stahl
Nick Nolte as Thomas Foran
Mark Ruffalo as Jerry Rubin
Roy Scheider as Judge Julius Hoffman
Liev Schreiber as William Kunstler
James Urbaniak as Rennie Davis / Richard Schultz
Jeffrey Wright as Bobby Seale
Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Paul Krassner
Debra Eisenstadt as Mary Ellen Dahl / Waitress
Lloyd Floyd as Robert Pierson / Arthur Aznavoorian / Police officer
Leonard Weinglass as himself
Catherine Curtin as Barbara Callender
Chuck Montgomery as Lee Weiner

On the eve of the Afghanistan War, director Brett Morgen was spurred to create Chicago 10 in response to what he saw as the lack of active American opposition to the war. Morgen wanted to make the anti-Vietnam War protests of the 1960s resonate with contemporary youth, which influenced both the film's animation style and its anachronistic soundtrack, the latter of which features modern artists such as Black Sabbath, Rage Against the Machine, the Beastie Boys, and Eminem. The animated courtroom sequences were also informed by Jerry Rubin's description of the trial as a "cartoon show."

The film premiered January 18, 2007 at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. It later premiered at Silverdocs, the AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival in Downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. The film opened in limited release in the United States on February 29, 2008. It was aired nationally on the PBS program, Independent Lens, on October 22, 2008.

The film received generally favorable reviews from critics.

Rotten Tomatoes:

Rotten Tomatoes was launched on August 12, 1998, as a spare-time project by Senh Duong. As a fan of Jackie Chan, Duong was inspired to create the website after collecting all the reviews of Chan's movies as they were being published in the United States. The website was an immediate success, receiving mentions by Yahoo!, Netscape, and USA Today within the first week of its launch. Duong teamed up with University of California, Berkeley classmates Patrick Y. Lee and Stephen Wang to pursue Rotten Tomatoes on a full-time basis. They officially launched it on April 1, 2000. In June 2004, IGN Entertainment acquired for an undisclosed sum. In September 2005, IGN was bought by News Corp's Fox Interactive Media. In January 2010, IGN sold the website to Flixster. The combined reach of both companies is 30 million unique visitors a month across all different platforms, according to the companies. In May 2011, Flixster was acquired by Warner Bros.

Chicago 10: 81% Positive Reviews

Kelly Vance, East Bay Express: Chicago 10 is definitely worth a look for skeptics young and old.

Ian Buckwalter, DCist: It may be most effective for audiences who do need a spoonful of sugar to make the historical medicine go down.

Nora Lee Mandel, Film-Forward: Revisits 1968 as a court room drama, through a fresh cinematic look to avoid period clichés while broadening history's appeal to both boomers and their children.

Jean Lowerison, San Diego Metropolitan: Chicago 10 isn't perfect, but is required viewing for anyone who wasn't around at the time, if only as a reminder of the effectiveness of citizen action.

Bryant Frazer, Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus: The ultimate lesson? Sometimes you make a noble point by acting like a jackass.

Kam Williams, NewsBlaze: Director Brett Morgen earns high marks for finding a most innovative way to illustrate a regrettable chapter in American history.

Brian Orndorf, DVDTalk: Chicago 10 is an art-house rarity that manages to visually dazzle while peeling away the layers of this contentious moment in time, giving viewers an eyeful of social unrest and wondrous screen fantasia.

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: Chicago 10 is that nearly perfect marriage of style -- edgy, different -- to documentary subject: 1968, that seminal year so celebrated in 2008 for changing the America that came after it.

Robert Davis, Paste Magazine: Short on nuance but long on passion, Chicago 10 recreates the gradual boil-over from peaceful gathering to chaos by augmenting ample, close-range footage with the kind of sonic boom that seldom accompanies political documentaries.

Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star: Indirectly scolds today's meek populace for letting its war-minded government rage unchecked.

Larry Ratliff, San Antonio Express-News: Chicago 10 brandishes enough sickening reality (Chicago police clubbing protestors, etc.) to make the audience gasp with astonishment.

Josh Rosenblatt, Austin Chronicle: A documentary that somehow manages to capture the anarchic spirit of those topsy-turvy times without devolving into anarchy itself.

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: A vibrant, unconventional documentary about the conspiracy trial of the so-called inciters of the riots that occurred during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters: It's hard not to think of the many other protestors, detainees, and U.S. citizens whose rights are being stifled as we speak.

Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly: The anachronistic music cues and refreshing lack of hippie-dippie reminiscence make it a movie for right now -- a funny, fiendishly entertaining salute to dissent in all its forms.

Glenn Kenny, Premiere Magazine: The material is incredibly compelling -- though trust me, it was even more compelling (and scary) as it was happening.

Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times: If nothing else, it's a welcomed alternative to the more straightforward and serious film that Spielberg is likely to deliver.

Lee Grant, San Diego Union-Tribune: Chicago 10 is a movie for parents and grandparents to take their older children and grandchildren. It's worth a field trip for high school and college American history classes.

Shawn Levy, Oregonian: Morgen recaptures the unreal air of the whole chapter; you can imagine young audiences understanding, perhaps for the first time, what the fuss was about.

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: If you accept the premise that it's a multimedia happening rather than a history lesson, the half-documentary, half-cartoon Chicago 10 is a smash of a mash-up. Call it 1968, the Remix.

Andy Klein, Los Angeles CityBeat: The film covers the history of the central events as well as could be hoped in an hour and 40 minutes and conveys some of the feel of the time.

Eric D. Snider, Morgen is an invigorating filmmaker, not content to go the well-traveled route when there's a new path to try. Chicago 10 benefits from that sense of adventure.

Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy: Its greatest achievement, no question, is simply that it rescues a period of modern history from its suffocating blanket of respect and worship.

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: It's a fresh and important new take on one of the most tumultuous periods in American history.

Pamela Troy, The violence is doled out judiciously and interspersed with moments of mordant, truly biting comedy.

Joe Lozito, Big Picture Big Sound: Brett Morgan's intriguing, partially-animated dramatization of the 1968 protest of the Chicago Democratic National Convention dimly shines a light on how far we've come, and how far we haven't.

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice: let freedom ring!

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Though Morgen did just about everything he could to make his movie unwatchable, the story was interesting enough to fight him to a draw.

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: A provocative reflection of its rule-breaking subjects, Brett Morgen's political documentary re-examines the past while drawing unmissable parallels to the present.

Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times: The director wants to bring recent history to life for people who weren't around to witness it, and in that he succeeds pretty admirably.

Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News: Creaky and overinstructive.

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: The movie dazzles us into self-examination.

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: An electrifying picture.

Brett McCracken, Christianity Today: The filmmakers' hope, presumably, is that kids will see Chicago 10 and get stirred into action, taking to the streets to take down The Man, Yippie style.

Peter Sobczynski, A bit of a mess but it is such an energetic and ambitious mess that it winds up capturing the energy and feel of its subject better than a more staid approach to the material possibly could have achieved.

Jim Emerson, Chicago Sun-Times: As an activist documentary with a contemporary agenda, it doesn't pretend to be "objective" (whatever that means).

Tony Medley, Virulently biased (not one opponent of the 10 is interviewed), the film is ruined by presenting the trial via cartoons. I kept expecting Judge Hoffman to say, "Eh, What's up doc?" (Score: 1/10)

Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk: Lacks even the confidence to let speak for themselves the images of police and national guardsmen clubbing unarmed American demonstrators.

Tasha Robinson, AV Club: For those who don't mind their history pre-seasoned with a little phantasmagoria and a lot of sarcasm, Chicago 10 is a hugely entertaining piece of pop fluff, as dynamic and modern as the Beastie Boys cut on the soundtrack.

Gene Seymour, Newsday: It's hard to imagine a more ferocious or inventive depiction than Chicago 10.

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Chicago 10 is well worth seeing, if only because a good half of the film is devoted to extraordinary footage of the four days of rage that spawned the trial.

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: Chicago 10 not only brings to life one of the sorriest chapters in American cultural and political history, but breathes new life into a film genre that usually has all the imagination and verve of a visit to Madame Tussauds.

Christopher Campbell, Cinematical: A riveting work that's hilarious, accessible and, sure, timeless in some ways. But still maybe a bit useless, too.

Ben Kenigsberg, Time Out New York: Energetic as the courtroom antics are, the vintage footage holds its own amazements. Score: 4/6

Eric Kohn, New York Press: Morgen displays obvious admiration for the Yippies' festive mentality in the shadow of authority, but he makes a valiant effort to avoid treating them as relics.

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: Chicago 10 is insufficiently frenzied. For all its shock value, the trial was not the only game in town.

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: It wouldn't hurt anyone, young or old, to catch up on the fascinating history lesson illustrated and embellished by Mr. Morgen and his crew in Chicago 10.

Cole Smithey, Here is an unabashed call to a new age of protests. Is it agit prop propaganda? You bet. A-

Lewis Beale, Film Journal International: A powerhouse film that ranks among the very best nonfiction features of the past decade.

Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine: Chicago 10 is a reminder of a time when the counter-culture was out on the street making noise--a history lesson so removed from our present political climate it feels almost like science fiction.

Harvey S. Karten, Compuserve: Remarkably imaginative: Director Morgen merges archival film with animation to bring to life the excitement of youthful demonstrations against the Vietnam War during the '68 Democratic National Convention. A-
Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com: Defying chronology and without interviews or narration, Morgen's inventive docu is a colorful chronicle of the Democratic Convention and Conspiracy Trial perfectly tuned to our politically charged times--a call to arms that's not didactic or preachy. B

Andrew O'Hehir, In its best moments, and they are considerable, Chicago 10 makes you see 1968, that near-apocalyptic year, with fresh eyes, as an extraordinary turning point in history now at least partly set free from boomer nostalgia and regret.

Todd McCarthy, Variety: Brett Morgen's agit-prop documentary augments its excellent assemblage of archival footage with capture-motion animation to rep the courtroom antics, all in the service of an ideologically loaded approach.

Edward Douglas, The Heavy Metal of anti-war docs. 8.5/10

Ben Kenigsberg, Time Out: 4/5

Stephen Schaefer, Boston Herald: B

Movies with 100% approval ratings at Rotten Tomatoes:

  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
  • Battleship Potemkin (1925)
  • Ben-Hur (1925)
  • Abraham Lincoln (1930)
  • M (1931)
  • I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
  • Modern Times (1936)
  • Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
  • The Killers (1946)
  • Black Narcissus (1947)
  • Quay of the Goldsmiths (1947)
  • 12 Angry Men (1957)
  • Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
  • Knife in the Water (1962)
  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
  • I Am Cuba (1964)
  • Black God, White Devil (1964)
  • Repulsion (1965)
  • The Odd Couple (1968)
  • The Phantom Tollbooth (1970)
  • The Last Picture Show (1971)
  • Wake in Fright (1971)
  • The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1971)
  • Sleeper (1973)
  • Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
  • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
  • Alice in the Cities (1974)
  • Lenny (1974)
  • Padre Padrone (1977)
  • Mad Max 2 (1981)
  • S.O.B. (1981)
  • Fanny and Alexander (1982)
  • Zelig (1983)
  • Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
  • The Terminator (1984)
  • A Room with a View (1985)
  • My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)
  • Shoah (1985)
  • Pelle the Conqueror (1987)
  • Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
  • The Killer (1989)
  • Roger & Me (1989)
  • The Witches (1990)
  • Everybody's Fine (1990)
  • Wallace & Gromit: A Grand Day Out (1990)
  • Europa Europa (1991)
  • Bob Roberts (1992)
  • The Crying Game (1992)
  • Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers (1993)
  • Fist of Legend (1994)
  • Before Sunrise (1995)
  • Toy Story (1995)
  • Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave (1995)
  • Forgotten Silver[18] (1996)
  • Hamsun (1996)
  • Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)
  • The Sweet Hereafter (1997)
  • Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember (1997)
  • Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999)
  • My Voyage to Italy (1999)
  • Toy Story 2 (1999)
  • Yana's Friends (1999)
  • The Taste of Others (2000)
  • Asoka (2001)
  • Hukkle (2002)
  • Live-In Maid (2004)
  • Take Out (2004)
  • 2 or 3 Things I Know About Him (2005)
  • Deliver Us from Evil (2006)
  • Along the Ridge (2006)
  • The Shark Is Still Working (2006)
  • Rogue (2007)
  • The Order of Myths (2007)
  • Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)
  • Never Say Macbeth (2007)
  • Futurama: Bender's Big Score (2007)
  • Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows (2007)
  • Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure (2007)
  • Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2008)
  • Man on Wire (2008)
  • Still Walking (2008)
  • Afghan Star (2008)
  • Sita Sings the Blues (2008)
  • Last Train Home (2009)
  • 3 Idiots (2009)
  • Nostalgia for the Light (2010)
  • Poetry (2010)
  • Waste Land (2010)
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
  • Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone (2011)
  • The Interrupters (2011)
  • Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness (2011)
  • We Were Here (2011)
  • Wild Bill (2011)
  • Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1 (2012)
  • Horses of God (2012)
  • The Battery (2012)
  • More Than Honey (2012)
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Part 1 (2012)
  • The Waiting Room (2012)
  • 7 Boxes (2012)
  • Miele (2013)
  • Bad Hair (2013)
  • Best Kept Secret (2013)
  • On the Job (2013)
  • The Square (2013)
  • Sound City (2013)
  • The Babadook (2014)
  • Manakamana (2014)
  • K2: Siren of the Himalayas (2014)
  • No No: A Dockumentary (2014)
  • Advanced Style (2014)
  • Listen Up Philip (2014)
  • Force Majeure (2014)
  • The Overnighters (2014)
  • Mr. Turner (2014)
  • Burning Bush (2014)
  • Ilo Ilo (2014)
  • Beyond the Lights (2014)
  • Rocks in My Pockets (2014)

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