On August 26-29, 1968, the Democratic National Convention took place at the International Amphitheater, Chicago, Illinois. The convention was held to elect Democratic candidates: either Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey or Senator Edmund S. Muskie of Maine. To fight in the Presidential Election of the United States (USA) in November 1968. Against the Republican champion: Richard M. Nixon.
At that time, five years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (JFK), America's domestic political climate was hot. Which, among other things, was caused by the murder cases of human rights defenders (HAM). Starting from Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., to Robert F. Kennedy (RFK).
In addition, the US government's foreign policy has also made the situation and conditions at home even more burning. Especially, in the Vietnam War. Which has claimed thousands of lives of the USA soldiers.
The Vietnam War itself erupted from 1955 to 1973. It was recorded that as many as 282 thousand American soldiers and their allies were killed there. Meanwhile, civilian casualties in Vietnam reached 627 thousand. In all, there were about 1.353 million people who lost their lives during the war.
From 1964 to 1973, there were demonstrations against the Vietnam War. Which demands that the US government withdraws its troops to end the war. Which is mostly done by students, college students, hippies, and mothers.
Yes, many mothers took to the streets. Especially, to protest the conscription policy implemented by the American government. At that time, thousands of boys from the mothers were obliged to fight for the defense of the country in Vietnam. The majority left only that name.
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In 1968, these anti-Vietnam War demonstrations took place across the country. Including, in Chicago. Which hosts the Democratic National Convention. Which incidentally was the government party that was ruling in America at that time.
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However, the demonstration in Chicago, which was attended by around 15,000 people, which was originally intended as a peaceful demonstration, eventually turned into chaos and bloody riots. To be precise, after the clash between the demonstrators and the police. Resulting in hundreds of people injured and seriously injured.
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Some time later, the results of the federal grand jury investigation named eight demonstrators and eight police officers as suspects. The one accused of triggering the riot case earlier. All of which must undergo trials. Alias open trial. To determine a fair punishment.
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This case suddenly caused an uproar in the American community at that time. However, what attracted the most attention was the trial process of the eight demonstrators. Which was later dubbed as Chicago 8. The one accused of having carried out a conspiracy and being the mastermind behind the riots.
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The demonstrators, known as Chicago 8, consisted of student activists, leaders of mass organizations and black party leaders. They are Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Lee Weiner, John Froines, and Bobby Seale.
The government is trying to impose the maximum sentence on Chicago 8 earlier. At that time, the United States had changed its ruler from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. Thanks to President Richard Nixon's victory in the general election a few months earlier.
To prosecute the defendants, the Attorney General, aka Attorney General, assigned senior prosecutor Tom Foran and young prosecutor Richard Schultz. Meanwhile, Chicago 8's side, except for Bobby Seale, is being defended by a pair of veteran human rights lawyers: William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass.
Initially, Chicago 8 was tried simultaneously in a trial. Presided over by Judge Julius Hoffman. However, in the process, Black Panther Party Chairman Bobby Seale, who was not accompanied by the lawyer, was expelled from the group and tried separately. Therefore, the designation for Chicago 8 was, in the end, changed to Chicago 7.
In that long and tiring trial process, which lasted almost a year, the American public, in effect, was more inclined to defend Chicago 7. Who is considered innocent in the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations that ended in chaos.
However, in the end, the results of the trial said something else. The jury found the five men from Chicago 7 guilty. Because he has committed a conspiracy and deliberately makes a riot. The judge later sentenced them to five years in prison.
The controversial trial process was later made into a film by director Aaron Sorkin. With the title The Trial of the Chicago 7. The film has aired on Netflix since Friday (16/10) last week.
Initially, in 2006, the one who had the idea to make this Chicago 7 film was Steven Spielberg. When he met Sorkin, the famous Hollywood director said he wanted to tell the story of the riots that occurred at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
Sorkin then wrote the screenplay in 2007, then Spielberg, it was planned, would direct. However, due to budget problems, the Chicago 7 film project failed to materialize. It was only in 2018 that the project was revived. However, this time, it was Sorkin himself who directed it.
Prior to directing The Trial of the Chicago 7, Sorkin had only produced one feature film. Namely: Molly's Game (2017). Starring Jessica Chastain. Which got a lot of praise from these critics.
However, although his experience as a feature film director is not long, so far, Sorkin has been known as an excellent screenwriter. Especially, films with historical backgrounds, biographies and true stories. One of which has produced an Oscar. Namely: The Social Network (2010).
Apart from the film about the Facebook founder, various quality film scripts have also been produced by the filmmaker who was born on June 9, 1961. Call it: A Few Good Men (1992), The American President (1995), Charlie Wilson's War (2007), Moneyball (2011), and Steve Jobs (2017).
Meanwhile, for his latest film, which has a duration of more than two hours, according to the title, Sorkin presents the Chicago 7 trial process as the main dish. Which focuses on the seven people who become the defendants. Which is embellished by a bit of background from Black Panther Party Chairman Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and Prosecutor Richard Schultz (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).
Sorkin summed up the Chicago 7 trial process, which ran from April 1969 to February 1970, in short pieces. Which is then presented in parallel with the riots in 1968. Through flashback scenes.
The move that Sorkin had taken earlier was, arguably, a brilliant decision. By displaying only important trial scenes, combined with flashbacks of the riots in Chicago, the film's plot is straightforward.
In fact, the parallel presentation makes every scene in this film interesting and not boring. The audience becomes aware and understands about what really happened. Because every testimony in the trial is always clarified with a flashback scene. Which displays footage of the rioting that occurred earlier.
In order to present a flashback scene in accordance with the original incident, Sorkin filmed in Grant Park, Chicago. What used to be the location of a demonstration that ended in chaos in 1968. As a result, this film is able to display images that resemble a recorded archive of actual events.
In presenting the flashback scene earlier, Sorkin also presented it from various points of view. So, you could say, this film is rich in perspectives. Not just the point of view of one person. Because all viewpoints are shown. Starting from the perspective of the Chicago 7s to the police posing as demonstrators.
From these many points of view, the audience can judge for themselves, objectively, what really happened at that time. Was the Chicago 7 gang really guilty? Did the riot happen accidentally? Or, in fact, the police are the ones who trigger it?
These various perspectives make this courtroom drama film interesting to follow. On top of that, the screenplay, which Aaron Sorkin also wrote himself, is also very sharp. Many are filled with dialogue that is smart and fast, but also invites laughter at the same time. Because there are many elements of humor.
The appearance of big-name stars, with high quality acting, is also the main attraction of this film. Call it Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mark Rylance, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. And, not to forget, Michael Keaton. The portion is not that much, but its role is able to make an impact.
However, among the famous actors, the main motor of the cuteness of this film is Sacha Baron Cohen. The comedian whose name has skyrocketed since starring in the film Borat (2006), this time, plays the role of Abbie Hoffman.
Abbie is the leader of the Yippies (Youth International Party) who often make ridiculous slurs during the trial. Which is often to bully and insult Judge Julius Hoffman (Frank Langella). The old one. Who has the same last name as him.
Abbie Hoffman's point of view is indeed the one that has been shown the most. Almost everything is delivered through stand-up comedy. So, it's not wrong if someone says he was a successful scenes stealer in this film.
However, although much of it was adorned by Abbie Hoffman's ridiculousness earlier, it does not mean that The Trial of the Chicago 7 has turned into a comedy film. Because the story told by Aaron Sorkin remains a serious courtroom drama. Delivered in a fun way so as not to be boring
Through this film, Sorkin also tries to be critical. Among other things, by exposing the depravity of the legal and judicial system in America. Subject to the will of the government. Which, in the end, culminated in the political tribunal for the Chicago 7 gang. Which, you could say, their punishment was, in effect, decided long before the trial began.
Even though it had happened more than half a century ago, the message that Sorkin was trying to convey was, in fact, still very relevant and relevant to the situation and conditions of America and other countries in the world today. Which is still filled with various rallies and demonstrations.
Through this film, Sorkin seems to remind him that the ruler, wherever it is, when criticized, will try to silence the critic. In many ways. Including, by criminalizing and manipulating the prevailing legal system.
Apart from that, Sorkin also did not forget to convey an important message: That so many young people's lives with bright futures were lost because of war. What he shows through the closing scene is very touching at the ending of this film.
If the film The Trial of the Chicago 7 was shown in theaters, perhaps, there would be a lot of viewers who would laugh when watching the ending scene earlier. Or, at least, will shed tears. Or, perhaps, will stand up like the prosecutor character played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, then clap his hands. Because it is so dramatic. And emotional.
Therefore, it is not wrong if someone calls The Trial of the Chicago 7 a masterpiece of Aaron Sorkin. Which, without a doubt, has spawned one of the greatest courtroom drama films of all time.Which deserves to be nominated for the be
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