A corporation is designated as a legal person under law. What kind of person would it be? Answer: A psychopath. While this may strike some as obvious, others will find The Corporation a real eye-opener as it delves into the mindset and character of corporate America. This insightful documentary comes to us from Mark Achbar (Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media), Jennifer Abbott (A Cow at My Table), and Joel Bakan, whose book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (to be published March 8) serves as the basis for the film.

 

Through interviews with left-wing staples such as Noam Chomksy, Naomi Klein, and Michael Moore; company CEOs from Pfizer, Goodyear, and Royal Dutch Shell; activists and whistleblowers; and highlighting specific cases of corporate deception, the three-hour mini-series paints a somewhat unflattering picture of multinationals. Some of the most damning evidence is the film's exploration of FOX News executives pressuring its reporters to kill a story that exposed links to cancer in a synthetic Monsanto bovine milk hormone.

 

The Corporation addresses three different themes. In the first program, The Pathology of Commerce, filmmakers examine the pathological self-interest of the modern corporation. Planet Inc. looks at the scope of commerce and the sophisticated, even covert, techniques marketers use to get their brands into our homes. The final program, Reckoning, examines how corporations cut deals with any style of government - from Nazi Germany to despotic states today - that allow or even encourage sweatshops, as long as sales go up.

 

The Corporation received critical acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival, and has just been named as one of the Festival's "Canada's Top Ten 2003" films. The Corporation also garnered the Joris Ivens Special Jury Prize at the Amsterdam Film Festival in November and will be screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January.