Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992)

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Released 24-Sep-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Featurette-Noam Chomsky Vs William F. Buckley Jr - 1969, Debate
Featurette-Noam Chomsky Vs Michael Foucault, - 1971, Deel Vier
Interviews-Cast-Noam Chomsky-Reflecting On Manufacturing Consent
Web Links-Resources And Links
Trailer-The Corporation, Waco, Letters To Ali, Bowling For Columbine
Trailer-The Party's Over, Power And Terror, Amandla!
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 167:18
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (94:54) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Mark Achbar
Peter Wintonick
Studio
Distributor
Necessary Illusions
Madman Entertainment
Starring Noam Chomsky
Edward S. Herman
William F. Buckley
Kelvin Flook
Peter Jennings
Bill Moyers
Tom Wolfe
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Carl Schultz


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A thought-provoking, controversial, and at times startling documentary, Manufacturing Consent should be mandatory viewing for everyone. The documentary focuses on Noam Chomsky, who is known as "arguably the World's most important intellectual", and his tireless campaign to let everyone know that the Emperor has no clothes. Described by Bono as "the Rebel with a Cause", Chomsky and this documentary are compelling viewing for those who are willing to think, and question everything they believe about the world they live in. Take the red pill, and read the review (and watch the DVD), or take the blue pill and carry on with your life as before . . .

    I first came across Chomsky in my university studies. As one of the World's leading linguists, his books and papers on his Theory of Universal Grammar, dealing with the development of human language, are held in almost the same regard as Einstein's Theory of Relativity or Darwin's Theory of Evolution. It was at university that I noticed that the excellent Valhalla Cinema in Glebe, Sydney (http://www.valhallacinemas.com.au/), was screening a film about him. I went expecting a documentary about advanced linguistics, but what I saw blew me (and the rest of the audience) away . . .

    According to Chomsky, propaganda is to a democracy, what violence is to a dictatorship. As we do not live in a police state, certain empowered interests need to control what we think in order to manufacture our consent. The public are thus reduced to mass apathy, living in a matrix of "tangled webs of deceit".

    In Chomsky's propaganda model, a small concentration of corporations (the "Elites") determine, shape, and control the flow of information to the public. These organizations also set national and international agendum, indoctrinating us into neutral, positive, and negative blood baths. For example, as Chomsky observes, during the late 1970s two genocides were occurring: One led by Pol Pot in Cambodia, the other by the Indonesian Government in East Timor. Pol Pot was a communist, but the Indonesians were US allies (and also held vast oil reserves). During 1975-1978, the NY Times devoted only 70 inches of column space to East Timor, yet devoted a whopping 1,175 inches of column space to Cambodia. While the concept of US supported/covered-up atrocities is not new, the presentation of the plight of the East Timorese in this film is deeply moving.

    For those that have read my bio, you will note that I mention Manufacturing Consent in relation to The Matrix. In many ways, The Matrix presents a highly stylized, sci-fi version of Chomsky's theories: We blindly accept the world we live in, and rarely question our Capitalist society or the flow of information we receive through the mass media.

    This 1992 Canadian production is as relevant as ever, especially as we have slipped into a world where the spectre of terrorism has handed the Elites even greater power than they held in the early 1990s.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    While the DVD's content is excellent, sadly, the transfer is truly awful, and it resembles a badly abused VHS tape.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (pan & scan).

    The sharpness is poor throughout, such as at 7:08. The shadow detail is also poor. Consider, for example, the complete lack of detail at 38:34.

    The colour appears washed-out and dated.

    There are MPEG artefacts throughout, in the form of pixelization. Film-to-video artefacts appear in the form of a slight telecine wobble, most noticeable during the opening credits. Just about every type of film and video artefact appears on this DVD, ranging from dust and dirt to horizontal video tape lines appearing on screen at 97:23.

    There are no subtitles on this dual-layered disc. The layer change is placed at 94:54.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio option: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s), and it sounds very dated and mono.

    Fortunately, there are no serious problems with the dialogue quality or audio sync.

    There is minimal use of music, but the musical score is credited to Carl Schultz. There are also a few songs used.

    There is no surround or subwoofer activity throughout.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are a few extras. All extras are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with stereo audio.

Menu

    A simple menu, it is static and silent.

Featurette-Noam Chomsky Vs William F. Buckley Jr - 1969 Debate (18:25)

    A TV debate taken from Firing Line.

Featurette-Noam Chomsky Vs Michael Foucault, - 1971 Deel Vier (12:52)

    Another debate, this time with the renowned Foucault.

Interviews-Cast-Noam Chomsky-Reflecting On Manufacturing Consent (14:19)

    Chomsky reflects on the film ten years later.

Web Links-Resources And Links

    A list of web sites, including www.Chomsky.info.

Madman Propaganda

    Trailers for:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Manufacturing Consent was released on DVD in Region 1 in 2002, and it is basically the same as our version.

Summary

   On the DVD cover, Manufacturing Consent is described as being "surprisingly accessible". I must say that compared with recent documentaries such as Super Size Me or Bowling For Columbine, it is a little slow to get going (it is more information than entertainment). That said, the journey is well worth it, and the style of presentation welcomes viewers critiquing the documentary's contents as mere paranoid soap-boxing. Indeed, viewers are challenged to form an opinion and develop their "intellectual self defense".

    The video quality is poor.

    The audio quality is also poor.

    There are a few extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 2110 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Link to the matrix... - John
Not that compelling - Anonymous
New version coming out December, 2007 - Mark Achbar
Question for Mark Achbar - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)