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Review: If freedom of information matters to you, Quebec doc 'Shadows of Liberty' is a must-see

If you care about your own freedom and our collective freedom (aka democracy), you’ll want to see local filmmaker Jean-Philippe Tremblay’s Shadows Of Liberty.  The documentary shines an unwavering light on one of the most important issues of our time, freedom of the press (and by extension, freedom of information). Taking a calm, journalistic approach, Shadows of Liberty reveals the machinations of corporate media and the slow, deliberate death of investigative news reporting as truth and democracy are sacrificed for profit.

Tremblay skillfully juxtaposes past and present, tracing the historical origins of freedom of the press, why it’s explicitly protected in the American constitution, how it is a vital part of any real democracy, and the political decisions that have led us to the present day where press releases often pass for news. Structured like a piece of investigative journalism, Shadows Of Liberty is long on facts and short on sensationalism. It reveals how big news stories get covered up and the professional (and personal) price that reporters have paid for pursuing stories unpopular with those in power.

The documentary’s narrative unfolds via interviews with a wide range of respected journalists who have worked within the mainstream media and some of the best known voices speaking out about freedom of information and journalistic integrity, such as Dan Rather, Julian Assange (Wikileaks), David Simon (The Wire), journalist Chris Hedges and actor/producer Danny Glover. Talking heads are intercut with archival footage relevant to the narrative and, combined with the soothing soundtrack, the overall effect is serious and calm, much like old school news. When you have real information to share, you don’t need to make it into entertainment to engage your audience.

While freedom of the press and corporate media control (and the military-industrial complex) may be a subject many of us, cynically, feel we know all about already, Shadows of Liberty offers up an insider’s perspective on the mainstream media and a deeper investigation into the role journalism and freedom of the press play in our society, giving us a more informed context within which to consider our collective past, present and future. In many ways, this is perhaps the ultimate human interest story, even though there are no lolcats or monkeys wearing coats, simply because it really is about the future of our society and humanity.

Shadows of Liberty
Now playing at Cinéma du Parc | 3575 Parc Avenue | cinemaduparc.com