Desson Thomson: 9500 Liberty is "Real-Life Capra Movie"

Friday, October 23, 2009

As you probably know, I'm a big fan of filmmakers Annabel Park and Eric Byler. That includes their latest film, "9500 Liberty," which uses Prince William County, Virginia as a microcosm/case study in order to depict "America’s explosive battle over immigration policy." The film has been showing at festivals in DC, Virginia, and all over the country, and from what I've seen (at two showings I've attended), it's been playing to packed houses and enthusiastic audiences.

Now comes a great review by Desson Thomson, a film critic at the Washington Post for 21 years. It's well worth reading in full, but for now, here's an excerpt:
This postmodern version of civil war may not have the musketry and the spectacular loss of life of its predecessor. But it doesn't lack for absorbing drama. And a memorable cast of characters.

There’s Corey A. Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County, who is spearheading the legislation. A family man with an easy smile, his forthcoming campaign slogan later that year would be “Fighting Illegal Immigration.” And there’s Stewart’s staunchest supporter, Greg Letiecq, a local activist-blogger and president of Help Save Manassas, who (at one point in the movie) advocates sending illegal aliens back to their countries of origin “with love.”


Even though the filmmakers’ political sentiments aren’t too hard to identify, there’s something to watch for viewers of any political stripe. “9500 Liberty” is local, yet powerfully American. And not unlike Marshall Curry’s excellent 2002 documentary “Street Fight,” which chronicled the stunning rise to power of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, it shows us politics where the rubber meets the road.

With an uplifting turn of events and some extraordinary acts of conscience, “9500 Liberty” is as dramatically charged as any fiction movie. And ultimately, it’s as powerful a booster of the democratic process as anything Frank Capra ever imprinted into our collective memory.
I couldn't agree more. Check it out!