This is my entry for “Y” in the Blogging A to Z Challenge. Throughout April I will be watching and reviewing a documentary movie from A to Z. Previous “Y” documentaries I’ve reviewed include Yellowstone: The World’s First National Park.
Title: You Can’t Be Neutral ona Moving Train
Release Date: June 18, 2004
Director: Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller
Production Company: First Run Features
This biographical documentary covers the basic moments in the life of historian and activist Howard Zinn:
- grew up in working class Brooklyn
- first job at Brooklyn Navy Yard where he’s exposed to labor activists and socialists
- enlists during WWII to fight facism
- disturbed by being part of a napalm bomb attack on a German holdout in France that had no strategic importance, only a demonstration of the USA’s new weaponry
- after the war becomes a professor at Spelman College
- supports students active in Civil Rights protests and becomes and advisor for SNCC
- after fired by Spelman, joins the faculty at Boston University
- becomes a leader in the movement against the Vietnam War
- publishes A People’s History of the United States to offer perspectives from oppressed people on the nation’s history
- also focuses on his personal life including his long marriage with Roslyn Shechte
The film follows the typical format of interviews with Zinn and others like Alice Walker and Daniel Berrigan, mixed with archival photographs and video. It’s a good introduction to Zin if you don’t have time to read his books.
What Can One Learn From Watching This Documentary:
Even this is a movie about Howard Zinn, he has a way of redirecting the discussion to the front line activists in whatever cause it’s being discussed. It’s a good lesson in using one’s talents and privileges to elevate others.
If You Like This You Might Also Want To …:
2019 Blogging A to Z Challenge – Documentary Films
B: Being Elmo
C: Central Park Five
D: Dear Mr. Watterson
E: The Endless Summer
F: F for Fake
G: Grey Gardens
H: High School
I: Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice
J: Jiro Dreams of Sushi
L: The Last Waltz
M: Man With a Movie Camera
N: Nanook of the North
Q: Quest: A Portrait of an American Family
R: Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan
S: Soundtrack for a Revolution
T: Titicut Follies
U: Unforgivable Blackness
W: Waking Sleeping Beauty
If you want to read more, check out my previous Blogging A to Z Challenges:
- 2016: A journey through my neighborhood of Jamaica Plain in Boston.
- 2017: A spontaneous photograph each day.
- 2018: Watched and reviewed documentary movies.
And dig deep into Panorama of the Mountains, by checking out my:
- Book Reviews
- Movie Reviews
- Beer Reviews
- Music Reviews and Writing
- City Stories, expository writing about my experiences in various cities
And, if you like Doctor Who, I have a whole ‘nother blog where I review Doctor Who stories across media: Epic Mandates.