FOR THE POWER OF TRUTH IS IN THE TELLING: on THE POST (2017)

CAST: MERYL STREEP, TOM HANKS, SARAH PAULSON, MATTHEW RHYS, BRADLEY WHITFORD, ALISON BRIE, BOB ODENKIRK, JESSE PLEMONS, CARRIE COON, TRACY LETTS, BRUCE GREENWOOD, MICHAEL STUHLBARG .

DIRECTION : STEVEN SPIELBERG.

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FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. How important and all encompassing is this term that society is always hell bent on taking for granted. We quote our constitution, our charter of rights, our fundamental freedoms and seek every single fabric of truth through the fourth pillar which today has branched out to so many forms. THE MEDIA is that overarching fourth pillar ensuring its unlimited power to inform, educate and even entertain by dint of telling the truth. I know what you are thinking : in today’s partisan environment, this statement sounds way off the mark as news media has become privy to a whole other level of pandemonium and established governments conveniently go hand in glove with it to generate fodder for the mandatory 24/7 cycle. But we all know truth is in the telling and when hard facts are scrabbled together by enterprising individuals to shed light on the realities of our immediate social order, conviction is established. Those who manage to pursue that fundamental truth with conviction, without fear of authority make a headway and democratize the very idea of journalism. By extension, this journalistic integrity then becomes a weapon to tell the world the truth. The truth that matters. The truth that is quintessential to you and me. The truth prevails. I am a believer and as long as conviction drives the seekers to share tales from around the world and elevate and enlighten our conscience, the term ‘media’ will retain its power.

So more power to THE POST which I will write briefly about here, trace as it does the vigilant tempers and iconoclasm of THE WASHINGTON POST team that in the 1970s brought a corrupt government to its knees and paved the way for the spirit of enquiry to come of age, for generations thereafter. We all know details of the Nixon era intrigue and history is choc a bloc with points about the Pentagon Papers – truly a Pandora’s box – that held classified details about the USA administration’s many moral missteps in policy making especially to the tune of entering the Vietnam War. The Post was instrumental in exposing key aspects of how like any government running countries to this day, the administration literally sent thousands to the Asian slaughterhouse with a false sense of nationalism, with no real agenda. The lives of common citizens which should be prioritized is ultimately left in a lurch anywhere and the publication of the papers back in the day was a triumph for the freedom of press and more importantly the citizens’ right to information. In one of the most controversial upending of top to down bureaucratic structures , President Nixon was impeached and a faint but epoch making sense of justice for families of those who perished or returned home reeling with PTSD was reinstated. This was the single swoop for the anti war stance that had been brewing at home and abroad and now found validation. The milestone hence continues to dominate popular culture, down to the recent multi arc National Geographic documentary titled ‘Watergate’.

Watching THE POST, I was reminded of the factual cum emotional trajectory of another superlative effort courtesy SPOTLIGHT which dealt with the staff of BOSTON GLOBE uncovering decades of systemic abuse within annals of the Church in the early 2000s. Culled from real life, with the performers stepping right in the shoes of the journalists who gave truth a chance, both films should make for compelling companion pieces. Finally, the human spirit, in all hues of indomitability, is traced subtly in both instances.

So here I give you my views on what THE POST is all about and the sociological background. In the next post, I will write about its structure, performances and impact.

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