Battle in Seattle – the film

Some were part of it, years ago. 1999. November. I heard about it, from the distance. Activists had managed to collapse a WTO conference. An unlikely victory.

Then we heard about the film, years later. Again, I heard about it from the distance. We heard about the preparations for it, we heard about it at such an early stage. So, Hollywood was making a film on “us”. Every one feared it would be a crap film, an alien depiction of something as intimate to us. And every one wished it failure at the box office. And every one was glad the film was not a success.

Then the film has come out on tv and I chose to watch it, even though some one warned it could “make you sick”.

Now I am not sure that I am glad it was not a success. Yes, it is a corporate take on an anti corporate issue. For them, it is an alien theme. No matter how many months they research “the issues”, the human stories. You can’t research this. You need to experience it. And it was already difficult to sell it to the big studios as it was. When done from the inside, we’ve seen what has happened. The film is censored. It is not allowed to be shown in commercial theatres. If it is, the police may seize it. So it had to be from an outsider to be commercially viable. And only that way would a mass audience listen to some of the sound-bites.

I think I now wish this film had had more success. Ah, the name was “Battle in Seattle”. Yes, it may be a daft title. But it was similar to the tile that a prominent leftist magazine put to the issue that dealt with the events, and no one bat an eyelid. Guess who wrote the main article of that number. The maker of one of the biggest cosmetics empire, claiming it was an ethical and ecological one, that later on proceeded to sell said empire to an even bigger one that didn’t even claim to be ethical.

With hindsight, and having seen the film, I wish it had had a bigger impact.