Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
Format: 16mm Colour
Runtime: 167 min
National Film Board of Canada,
Funny, provocative and surprisingly accessible, Manufacturing Consent explores the political life and ideas of Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned linguist, intellectual and political activist. In a dynamic collage of new and original footage, biography, archival gems, imaginative graphics and outrageous illustrations, the film highlights Chomsky's probing analysis of mass media.
The film is a mammoth two-part documentary that stands at the end of four years of labour. Nonetheless, Manufacturing Consent is light on its feet, favouring a style that encourages viewers to analyze the film's workings and the documentary form itself.
The first part focuses on the theory and practice of thought control in democratic societies. Drawing on wide-ranging and persuasive examples, Chomsky asserts that media create a false political consensus which undermines true democracy. In the second part, Activating Dissent, he posits that we must undertake "a course of intellectual self-defence," to give meaning back to the democratic process.
Travelling with Chomsky to Canada, Japan, Europe, and all across the United States, we are witness to a tireless, controversial and moral man constantly challenging and being confronted by the public and the press. At one point, Chomsky explains the simple idea that keeps him going: "It's a matter of being able to look yourself in the mirror." It is this mirror that Manufacturing Consent holds up to the media and, ultimately, the audience.