Network, the movie, from 1976: this movie has to be seen, and probably re-seen, to believe.
Some 31 odd years later, and this movie is more relevant than ever, in light of cable News, MTV, reality TV shows, the internet, our consumer culture, etc. Basically a news station tries many controversial and illegal tactics–including paying a revolutionary terrorist group to film bank robberies and other actions, to be turned into show footage–in order to boost ratings–as well as having news shows with pointed commentary, etc. There’s a whole tremendous scene talking about globalization (you can watch it here on YouTube), and how states and borders and individuals don’t matter anymore, just a few multinational corporations. The entire commentary on advertising and mass media is tremendous and insightful, and beyond relevant today.
This film was made by Paddy Chayefsky, the enigmatic genius behind the movie Altered States, a must see…the whole cosmic birth/evolution/devolution scene is exactly copied by the cosmic birth/evolution/devolution of Tetso in Akira, down to becoming a little cosmic bit of light.
Also see David Cronenberg’s Videodrome which was influenced by Network. Stay tuned for an analysis of how David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive took massive and multiple cues from Brian DePalma’s Body Double.
Also interesting reading in light of the media/consumer identity issues brought up by Network:
Stardust: Music Sounds Better With You
Francis Lai (various) (one of the best composers/musicians ever)