Good Movies about Good Business, But a Quibble

Steven Pearlstein, a (usually) reliably hard-on-business columnist for the Washington Post, veers into cheerfulness today with a nice piece on business-oriented documentaries being show next week at the film festival and conference, Silverdocs.

Sponsored by the American Film Institute and the Discovery Channel, the festival in Silver Springs, Md., features documentaries on such topics as the relocation of a German coke factory to China (“Losers and Winners“), the step-by-step manufacturing of a Steinway grand piano (“Note by Note“), and the lives of long-haul truckers (“Big Rig“). Pearlstein writes enthusiastically about the offerings as a nice break from the usual anti-corporate fare.

But he just can’t help himself:

Through the magic of “product placement,” consumer-product companies have become adept at using movies to boost the recognition of their brands. But when it comes to how movies and television portray business generally, the corporate community has been a miserable failure.

The corporate community has been a failure? Nope, not right. The failure has been Hollywood’s and the cultural elite’s, those who are reactively opposed to the free market and profit — except their own. And to their own detriminent: Our friends at the pro-freedom American Film Renaissance remind us that business-friendly films can make a lot more money than sourpuss anti-corporate screeds.

That said, still, it was a pleasant surprise to read Pearlstein’s informative column, “Good Work at the Movies.”

Except…CAVEAT EMPTOR! Please don’t get the impression that Silverdocs is a pro-business, smiling-on-liberty film festival. Featured at the gala opening is, “Pete Seeger: The Power of Song.” Produced by Norman Lear. Great. A celebration of the most successful, unreconstructed Stalinist in American history, an apologist for genocidal tyranny, headlines a film festival. Now that’s the more usual fare at these festivals, unfortunately.

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