The Corporation Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott

The CorporationMark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott
As narrative film and news programs both slide into a created "reality," many believe that documentaries are becoming not just a prominent vehicle for the entertaining dissemination of information but also one of the last bastions of critical thought. Given the pop trend towards infotainment (Super Size Me), documentaries can no longer afford to be simply informative, well executed and accurate: they must delight and amuse as well. Canadian doc The Corporation puts its most entertaining foot forward in an attempt to understand the nature of the corporation as a business model and social force in the modern world; it still errs on the side of dusty, with a parade of intelligent talking heads speaking against a blank backdrop (and no one eats anything gross for extended periods), but its perspective and subject matter is gripping. It outlines the growth of the corporation and how a legal decision made 100 years ago that defines a corporation as a person under the law continues to negatively impact our world. By using definitions of behaviour one would apply to a human, one must conclude that if a corporation is indeed a person, it is in fact a crazy person, a psychopath: one that acts without guilt, without thought to the health and safety of others, one that wilfully ignores its impact on its environment. Now a lot of this might be lefty hand-wringing and eye-rolling — and what this two-disc "special edition" DVD offers is plenty more of the same — but the argument is compelling. It's one thing to argue that capitalism is the best we've got; it's quite another to look seriously at how it works and ignore its structural flaws. Plus: commentary. (Mongrel Media)