Tuesday, February 27, 2007

An Unreasonable Man: Public meets Ralph Nader at movie screenings


On Friday, Feb. 23 2007 I attended a platform release screening of An Unreasonable Man (IFC Films, dir. Henriette Mantel and Steve Skrovan) at Landmark E-Street Cinema in Washington DC. Mr. Nader was available for questions for the audience at several of the screenings, as he was uin the lobby when he sold his new book "The Seventeen Traditions" (blog link here). At 122 minutes, the film (which does not have an MPAA rating but would probably qualify as PG) is long for a documentary, but it never drags.

The production company was given as Red Envelope, and like some other topical documentary features recently, this film seems associated with Netflix and sponsored in part by the DVD rental company. (As of today, however, the DVD is still in the Netflix "Save" column.)

From both the book and the movie, a lot of attention can be drawn to what makes Mr. Nader, now about 73 but still lean, tick. His book is heavy on traditional family values and family cohesion, but he never raised one himself. He became a law geek, and lived for his causes. His Dupont Circle (Washington) offices, filled with books and papers, became a kind of intellectual space that anticipates today's cyberspace. He says at the end of the movie, "I don't care about my legacy; you're not going to take safety seats out of cars."

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