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  • 4 Additional footage - Bonus lectures
  • 7 Theatrical trailer
  • 4 Cast/crew biographies

Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky - In Our Times

Madman Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 72 mins . G . PAL


Naom Chomsky is a softly spoken, yet strangely compelling figure. In his early 70s, he seems as bereft of pretension as a person could get. Heís honest, straight-forward and without the emotional or patriotic roadblocks that seem to stifle other U.S. speakers. Here is a lover of America and its citizens, but a renegade speaker on the detachment of the American government from its people. Some critics call his Ďun-Americanismí downright wrong, but perhaps these are people blinded by their love of nation and the belief that the greatest nation on Earth could not be faulted. Not Chomsky. Chomsky sees the American presence overseas and their past and ongoing violence against civilian populations as exactly that thing America have been warring against since September 11; terror.

Chomsky intones that therefore, America is guilty of years of terrorism against myriad places the world over and to stop it, to stop terrorism worldwide, they must first apply that action to themselves.

"Everyoneís worried about stopping terrorism, well thereís a really easy way. Stop participating in it."

Itís a bit of a crazy world we live in these days, but underneath it all is the boundless hope of the human spirit. The majority of us seem to want nothing more than to go about our lives in peace and quiet, while down in the bunkers there are a bunch of fools who swing the axe in our names and cause all manner of mayhem around the world. While Chomsky doesnít claim to have all the answers, he sees clearly enough to be able to hold the same torch to his country as it holds to the rest of the world.

And what he sees and brings to light isnít palatable for some Americans.

Chomsky brings clean truths to light here and shows anyone who thinks for themself that America isnít the innocent nation it may wish to make itself out to be. That it doesnít judge itself by the same measure with which it measures the rest of the world and that hypocrisy is worth exposing until it can affect change.

Chomsky knows his stuff too. In multiple challenged instances here he is quick to refer to an action with incredible recall of politics or readings and relevant texts. His talks in the later nine months following September 11 2001 have been trimmed into a series of related monologues, creating a linear overall talk encompassing the best from all. Heís an interesting man without doubt and this is worth a look, however anyone not really interested in the hidden agendas of the superpowers may find it a bit dreary. This being the case or not, Chomsky speaks in an uplifting and hopeful way that encourages the individual and the people to believe in a time when all will be resolved, although strangely he says nothing of the sort. Perhaps heís just a hopeful man, and I guess thatís enough.


Shot on video this looks like any different collection of pieces spliced from lectures would. Itís a bit shaky sometimes, the light flares occasionally and the lighting isnít always the best. However, it suits its purposes ably, which is to bring Chomskyís talks to the masses. Naturally, itís in the TV ratio of 4:3.


Dolby Digital stereo, of course. This doesnít require surrounds as itís basically 72 minutes of Chomsky speaking. There is limited music, although what is included is quite nice and performed by a Japanese fella named Imawano Kiyoshiro. These are folky tracks that suit the overall feeling of defiant hope well. The only real fault here is in the low audio quality of the dialogue. We had the sound way, way up and it was still low.


A small batch of extras here that includes four biographies - Chomsky, director John Junkerman, producer Tetsujiro Yamagami and our musical friend mentioned above. Then come four additional lectures entitled The U.S. and Iraq, Globalisation, The American Political System and Freedom of Information. Each of these hover around the six minute mark, but for Globalisation which runs for 10:59. There is some very informative stuff here and much in the same vein as the main text, though this is more branching stuff off the Power and Terror theme.

Lastly, there are six trailers in the form of Madman Propaganda. These include Bowling For Columbine, Last Party 2000, Shifting Sands, Startup.com, Lumumba and the other Noam Chomsky DVD, Manufacturing Consent.


While Chomsky is an impressive speaker and knows his stuff to the Nth Degree, this would probably be a more successful vehicle for high school teachers taking to their social studies classes. Itís very interesting and fans of Chomsky will no doubt enjoy it, but if youíre not prepared for a 72 minute series of one way discussions, this probably isnít for you. However, if you wish to learn some unpleasant truths about the backstage events and causes of September 11 and Americaís grip on the world stage, this is a fine place to start. Chomsky speaks eloquently and honestly, without fear of reprisal, and tells it like it is.

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      And I quote...
    "Itís very interesting and fans of Chomsky will no doubt enjoy it, but if youíre not prepared for a 72 minute series of one way discussions, this probably isnít for you. "
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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