Encirclement—Neo-Liberalism Ensnares DemocracyL’encerclement—La démocratie dans les rets du néolibéralisme
CANADA / 2008 / French, English / B&W / Video (HD) / 160 min
Director, Script, Editing, Research, Producer: Richard Brouillette
Photography: Michel Lamothe
Sound: Simon Goulet
Original Music: Éric Morin
Production Company: Les films du passeur
World Sales: Andoliado Producciones www.andoliado.com
The neo-liberal ideology, centered in the United States, has swept across the globe, threatening to dominate the political economy of the entire world. Neo-liberalism as a policy prioritizes economics under the guise of “free competition.” This interview-based documentary critically reconstructs the origins and present state of elitist and imperialistic theories at the core of neo-liberalism, as well as the media institutions that sustain it. Tracing its 60-year history through provocative interviews presented in black and white, the film abounds with suggestions for the post-Lehman Shock world.
[Director’s Statement] This film arose from dissidence. An editorial by Ignacio Ramonet guided me. Published in the January 1995 edition of Le Monde Diplomatique, it was entitled “La pensée unique.” It described how, under siege by dogmatic ideology, pluralist political thought had mutated into a single scheme to strip the State of its powers and hand them over to market interests that supposedly knew how to do everything better.
From being merely dominant, the reasoning of the propertied masters had become crushing and irrefragable. Relayed via a tentacular network of propaganda and indoctrination that exploited all conceivable arenas, this pensée unique went unimpeded, especially since the fall of the USSR, and so naturally acquired the force of law.
That’s why I decided to make a film, not on the globalization of the economy—many had already been made—but on the globalization of a system of thought. A film about mind control, brainwashing, ideological conformism; about the omnipresent irrefutability of a new monotheism, with its engraved commandments, burning bushes, and golden calves.
I decided to express this revolt in speech. Strong, straightforward, rigorous, informed speech, free to express itself at length to complete its ideas. There was no question of me restricting this speech or forcing it to conform to television conventions, using fast-paced editing to make it artificially dynamic, giving it a deceptive air of objectivity, or eluding complex topics. Nor did I want to use too much “visual lubricant”—archival or illustrative images that would have compromised the film’s cohesiveness and tainted the participants’ interventions. I inserted these only when absolutely necessary. I felt it was crucial that the incisive, captivating speech of these eminent thinkers fill the screen, and that the audience fall sway to the fascination of listening, as I had.
Richard Brouillette is a producer, director, editor, and programmer. First a film critic at the Canadian weekly Voir in 1989, he then worked for the distribution company Cinéma Libre for a decade. He also founded the artist-run center Casa Obscura in 1993, where he still runs a weekly cine-club. He directed Too Much Is Enough (1995), for which he won the prestigious Joan Chalmers Award in 1996 and Carpe Diem (1995). He has also produced six feature-length films (including five documentaries).