Review of I Know I’m Not Alone by Michael Franti

Review of I Know I’m Not Alone directed by Michael Franti
rating **1/2

This film offers a good counterpoint to what is seen on the daily news concerning Iraq and occupied Palestine. Michael Franti, a musician and singer, took a film crew along with him as he visited the streets of Iraq and Palestine. He uses music to gain the trust of the locals who open up and allow him access where few outsiders have been. The result is a clear picture of the pain, fear, and suffering caused by the current occpation of both lands.

After watching the everyday lives of these people you come away with a real sense of appreciation for all that we have here in the U.S. You also see where much of the animosity against the U.S. comes from. More importantly you see how similar the people in these lands are to us. They want peace, opprtunity, and to feel safe just like anyone would. But their lives have been turned upside down by war, violence and a lack of jobs.

Michael Franti’s music and songs are used as the soundtrack throughout the film. He has a certain laid back quality in his voice that comes out best in the studio versions of his songs, which are often played against photographic montages.

This is his first film and it shows in some of the edititing. Several scenes start with silence and then the sound is introduced abruptly as if there was a miscue. Whether this was intended or not, it doesn’t work. The abrupt change from Iraq to Palestine doesn’t work all that well either. The film probably should have just stuck with Iraq. By the time he gets to Palestine it’s pretty much more of the same.

All in all not a bad first effort. It certainly should be viewed by anyone wanting to learn more about the day to day lives of the people of Iraq and Palestine.

The disc comes with several special features including images and an audio commentary.

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