As one of the seminal political events of the 1960s, the Chicago Seven trial seems to come from another era, but filmmaker Brett Morgen, in his third trip to the Sundance Film Festival, has created a film that is much more than a look back. Indeed <i>Chicago 10</i> takes a stylized, innovative approach that gives contemporary history a forced perspective. He boldly mixes original animation with extraordinary archival footage to explore the buildup to and unraveling of the infamous conspiracy trial. Set to the music of revolution then and now, <i>Chicago 1</i> is a parable of hope, courage, and challenge as it portrays the struggle of young Americans attempting to confront an oppressive and armed government…their own.
The 1968 Democratic Convention was a watershed event in the ongoing opposition to the Vietnam War. Protestors clashed with Chicago police, and the ensuing battles were witnessed live on television. In an effort to find a scapegoat, eight protestors were charged. The trial became a circus, and the abuse of individual liberties made this event one of the era's most significant.
But this is not the focus of either the film or our choice to have it open this year's Festival. Chicago 10 is much more than mere historical drama, and its creative artistry and inspiration are at the core of what makes the subject of this documentary as relevant today as it was 40 years ago.