Fourth World War Rick Rowley and Jacquie Soohen

The guerrilla filmmakers at Big Noise Films are doing important work and they should be lauded for their efforts. Their films will never be available at your local Blockbuster, rather they are "produced through a global network of independent media and activist groups." It's disappointing then that their latest documentary, The Fourth World War, is flawed in both execution and intention. While their previous films have each tackled one subject, this is a mixed bag of protests and uprisings that result in a diffused focus. Simply put, it bites off more than it can chew. The opening scenes start out strong, with a montage of demonstrations with no explanation as to where they're taking place, yet it's obvious to the viewer that shit is going down everywhere. Gut-wrenching footage and first-hand accounts come from around the globe: the Zapatista Liberation Army in Mexico fighting against military rule; the labour strike of South Korea in 1996-'97; the full economic collapse of Argentina; the continued hardships for the township dwellers in South Africa; war in Palestine; war in Iraq; and massive protests in Genoa and Quebec City. Conservatives tend to resort to calling this type of work propaganda, as they did earlier this year to Michael Moore. Where Fahrenheit 9/11 succeeds, though, is that its ultimate argument — that Iraq was (and is) an unnecessary war that has turned into a disastrous occupation with the blame laid squarely at the feet of George W. Bush — couldn't be any clearer. FWW is instead images in search of a thesis. The big bad here is simply "Empire," with most of the strife being purely economic so the complex issues concerning Palestine and Iraq don't fit into the mould. Sad to say, but there's too much unrest in the world to fit it all into an hour. Plus: Trailers. (Big Noise, www.bignoisefilms.com)