Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Camden 28|
Actor: Howard Zinn
Director: Anthony Giacchino
Genres: Educational, Documentary
83 minutes, color & b/w, 2007 — DVD Bonus Features: — * Multiple Interviews * Bonus Archival Footage * The Camden 28 Reunion * Essay from Human Rights Watch * Essay from Howard Zinn * Filmmaker Biography* And More — Summer, 1... more »
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A gripping true story of political dissent
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 10/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Camden 28 is a DVD presentation of the PBS documentary that aired on September 11th, 2007. Set in the early 70's, The Camden 28 investigates the historical incident of when 28 people, mostly non-violent activists from the Catholic left, plotted to break into a local draft board office and destroy records. But a mole had successfully infiltrated their operation; within hours of beginning their mission they were rounded up and arrested by the FBI, under the personal authority of J. Edgar Hoover. The Camden 28 includes a wealth of archival materials from Camden 28 members, witness for the defense Howard Zinn, and a former FBI agent involved in the case. A gripping true story of political dissent, offering relevance that far transcends the Vietnam era. Highly recommended. 83 minutes, color and black-and-white."
"Who Went Too Far?"
Rocky Raccoon | Boise, ID | 09/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"During childhood The Vietnam War made a big impression on me. It was easy to see the controversy in simple terms. I remember reading posters and lapel buttons. One poster read, "War is not healthy for children or other living things," yet my childhood recollections were innocent for "Make love, not war." On the other side, I saw bumper stickers exhorting us all to pray for or support our M.I.A.'s and P.O.W.'s.
`The Camden 28' would have been too specific and complicated for me to understand, so it is with greater appreciation I embrace this documentary as an adult. To be brief, twenty-eight people, mostly consisting of devout Catholics, including two priests, but a few Protestants as well, joined together to plan to infiltrate a government facility in Camden, NJ to steal draft records and burn them as their opposition to the Vietnam War. Usually the Catholic Church frowns on disobeying secular authority, but these 28 did so with conviction and at great risk.
Clocking in at less than an hour and a half, the film has recent interviews with some of the key participants. Their memories are sharply honed for detail, and there's plenty of news and "home movie" footage to back up their accounts. 'The Camden 28' squares solidly on the titled participants side, but it also features interviews by the key prosecuting and defense attorneys, giving their take on the whole affair. While I enjoyed their testimony, I also found the amount of material they used and the scope of their focus uses good judgment. Wisely, they spend a little time showing footage of the war, but they also provide newspaper clippings and news conferences documenting how the FBI was on their trail from the beginning of their plan.
There's not much more I wish to share, for it's better to lay it down there as though you, too, are going into this journey for the first time. Even the initiated will appreciate some of the intrigue and insights the story and testimony bring to the viewer. How each participant recalls how they planned the heist and the maneuvering that went on during their famous trial is pretty remarkable. Plus it's good to hear them share their innermost thoughts on all of the events, including recollecting the riots in Camden that preceded their acts of "civil disobedience," as they call it.
While I may not agree entirely with their methods, the "Camden 28" had enough conviction in their beliefs to act out what seem to be "good intentions" for "a worthy cause". See 'The Camden 28' and judge for yourself.
Touching, thought-provoking documentary
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 05/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On August 22, 1971, a group of Vietnam War protesters broke into the draft board offices in Camden, New Jersey, with the intention of destroying files and bringing the selective service process to a halt in that city. Yet, these were not your stereotypical '60's radicals bent on subverting the government and tearing down the establishment. Rather, they were thoughtful, deeply religious people (two were priests and one a Protestant minister) acting out of a stern conviction that not only was the war itself immoral but that the draft was inherently iniquitous because it aimed its sites squarely on the poor and underprivileged in the society while allowing the majority of the wealthy to escape unscathed. Unbeknownst to them, the protestors even had a Judas in their midst - one of their own number who had already informed on them to the FBI, resulting in the arrest, trial and ultimate acquittal of what would come to be known as The Camden 28.
The documentary, "The Camden 28," written and directed by Anthony Giacchino, gathers together many of the original members of the group to reminisce about the break-in and the trial and to reflect on how the event helped to turn the legal tide in favor of war protestors. For it was at the trial that the Camden 28 came to be seen as advocates for civil liberties who had simply employed the time-honored and deeply American tradition of civil disobedience as a foundation for their actions, making them more akin to abolitionists or the rebels at the Boston Tea Party than to actual criminals - i.e., people more concerned with securing justice than with adhering to the strict letter of the law. The movie provides ample opportunity for the participants to state their case, interspersed with a generous helping of footage and photos that help to recapture the temper of the times in which all this took place.
Giacchino's sympathies clearly lie with the 28, but he is not averse to examining some of the moral complexities of the issues involved, particularly in regards to Bob Hardy, the informant who was himself an opponent of the war and a part of the "Catholic Left," but who simply felt that his friends were going about their protest in the wrong way. In fact, not long after the arrests, Hardy switched his allegiance to the other side, testifying in favor of his buddies and against the FBI whom he claims lied to him in assuring him that none of the perpetrators would be placed on trial after their arrests. Giacchino captures the sense of betrayal many of the 28 felt towards Hardy for what he had done to them, but he also shows how forgiveness and reconciliation have worked to bring about an emotional healing for many of the parties involved (and, indeed, Hardy gets to have his say right along with everybody else).
Though their story is only a very small piece of a much larger fabric, the Camden 28 still inspire us with their unflagging commitment to justice and their willingness to sacrifice all for a cause they believe in. As one of the prosecutors interviewed for the film states, no matter what one may think of the rightness of this specific action, one must still admire the courage, dedication and moral conviction that motivated them to do what they did.
This is a moving and uplifting film no matter one's political persuasion or stripe."
A compelling witness to courage
San Valentino | Villanova, PA United States | 09/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I asked Father Michale Doyle to baptize both my children in hopes that his passion for peace and compassion for the poor would influence their lives. Recently, I watched this documentary with my family and asked "Aren't you proud that Michael Doyle baptized you?" The answer was a definite yes. This movie is a "must see" for those on the spiritual journey. It encourages courage and optimism, but also grounds the viewers in the difficult practicalities of living the honorable life."