If it’s not exactly a call to arms, the activist documentary We Are Many (12) *** is certainly a call to feet.
The film looks at the extraordinary anti-War march of 15 February 2003 which brought millions of people to peaceful protest against the looming Bush and Blair-lead invasion of Iraq.
London was the movement’s epicentre, the streets of the British capital deluged with a memorable tide of placards brandished by hopeful peaceniks.
It was indeed a breathtaking sight and one that was repeated in cities around the world. The film suggests 30 million people protested, including a couple of brave and inspired souls in Australia who scaled the Sydney Opera House to daub No War on one of its iconic sails.
Directed with a potent combination of precision and passion by first-timer Amir Amirani , the doc boasts contributions from such luminaries as Tony Benn, Richard Branson, John le Carre, Mark Rylance and Damon Albarn. Best of all are the witheringly blunt summations from former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix.
It builds up quite the misty-eyed head of steam, stoking viewers with an uneasy kind of despondent anger as these pleas for peace fell on the deaf ears and stonily-resolved hearts of politicians.
The marches, you will recall, were totally ignored by the rulers who, using the 9/11 New York attacks as their banner, waged into vengeful ‘shock and awe’ warfare, the debris of which we are still feeling today.
Amirani posits that people power is now at the heart of any movement, citing the events of the Arab Spring and Egypt’s Tahrir Square in particular, even believing that politicians can never again ignore the people.
Of course it’s a one-sided film and some of its accusations are as wild as they are politically naive – but it does prove that idealism works far better in the movies than in real life.