Imphal Review of Arts and Politics


‘Chicago-7’, Chronicles State Violence and Civil Resistance Imaginatively and Powerfully

Name Of The Movie: The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Director Of The Movie: Aaron Sorkin

Date Of Release: 25th Septermber 2020 (Theatre), 15th October 2020 (Netflix)

Ratings: 5/5

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is an important film which can be watched by any age groups. It is the story of how eight American leftists along were put on trial by the Nixon government for allegedly starting riots in the state of Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A at the wake of the Vietnam war in the year 1969. The eight leftists are Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, Dave Dellinger, Lee Weiner, John Froines and Bobby Seale.

There’s the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and then there are these eight leftists who plan to hold a peaceful protest near the hotel where the 1968 Democratic National Convention was going to be held to express dissent. And, all of them were denied permission by their government yet they walked out of their houses and miles into Chicago from different states in the United States of America to express their dissent and to exercise their freedom of expression as free Americans. The other side of the table, that is the U.S government is represented by federal lawyers Richard Schulz and the seven leftists are represented by lawyers William Kunstler and Leonard Wieneglass.

The film is relevant today because of police violence we see in different countries such as Belarus, Hong-Kong, U.SA, India etc in today’s time against citizens who attempt to protest peacefully. It is shocking that things are pretty similar since 1969 in terms of police brutality and the attitude of fascist governments wearing the robe of democracy.

The film is made delightful by the presence of great actors such as Sasha Baron Cohen who plays Abbie Hoffman, Eddie Redmayne who plays Tom Hayden and other notable actors were Mark Rylance, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Frank Langella ( who played the shrewed Judge, Julius Hoffman).

Although it means serious, there was no doubt funny moments in the film which was a total delight. It is one of the best movies released in 2020, hands down. It is realistic, funny, entertaining, informative and brilliant.

It shows how the U.S.A went to lengths to bring democratic people with fundamental rights by using the Rap Brown Law against the leftists in the trial. This Law was made to oppress the Black people in America before the Blacks were made as free, democratic people as well to lash anyone who tries to express dissent.

Expressing dissent is our fundamental rights as free humans who have the right to Freedom of Expression and we all have the right to protest as a form of dissent and police or any force used by any governments need not be brutal. This film is relevant and eye-opening.

It is a must watch! By the end of the movie, one shall find a beautiful song called “Hear My Voice” sung by Celeste, an African American woman. The background score, the real life reels used in between montages and the cinematography, the direction and the actors along with the legendary story of the Chicago 7 make the movie worthwhile to watch not only once but as many time as you want and one won’t be disappointed. We have much to take away from this movie.

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