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Askew Review 15

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(First Run Features) 1990. Documentary. Approx 120 minutes. Not rated. Intertwining archival protest footage, old news conferences, and old and new interviews with those involved with the protests, Director Mark Kitchell gives us a pretty intense one-sided look at various protests that occurred in and around Berkeley, CA during the 1960s. Mainly detailing only the protesters point of view, Berkeley in the Sixties covers uprisings concerning free speech, civil rights, the Vietnam War, women’s liberation, and The Black Panthers. Using new interviews, eyewitness accounts are detailed by several people who either took part in the protests or were instrumental in the protest’s formation. 
        Simply put, I had a ball watching Berkeley in the Sixties, and I started this DVD off with a bad taste in my mouth due to my general dislike of protesters and their behavior. This DVD enraged me, annoyed me, got me thinking, and even had me busting a gut laughing (in fact, one scene in the DVD’s extras had me laughing the hardest I’ve laughed in a long time). Although I wasn’t actually surprised, I was perplexed at how the protestors seemed to believe that they were not expected to be held responsible for their unlawful conduct while protesting. That trait has definitely been passed down to the present protester generation. The only hints of counterpoint to most of the protests are news/press conferences of then Governor Ronald Reagan bitching (with rather ballsy statements) about the protesters’ gathering, the music, the atmosphere, etc. Duh, what did they expect? Of course the older folks and authority figures were going to be against the protesters and their way of life.  What “older” person jives with the doings of youngsters? Now a days, how many people over 50 are into Rap or Hip Hop? Speaking of Hip Hop, my Mother and Step Dad went to The Strand Theater (theater/concert hall generally booked with black interests and entertainment) in Dorchester expecting to see a Du-Wop concert, when in fact it was a Hip Hop concert. Mommy Dearest wasn’t wearing her eyeglasses when she read the ad. Of course, this has nothing to do with the DVD being reviewed here; I just thought it was funny. Extras include: deleted scenes, archival “gems,” photo gallery, and theatrical trailer. The deleted scenes and archival gems are damn good. In the words of JJ from Good Times, this DVD is ‘DYNOMITE!!” – Denis Sheehan



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