Serpico Lives On
Awh, it’s so sad when people die. The director Sidney Lumet, the super awesome dude that brought us the very great films Serpico, Murder on the Orient Express and the super devastating A Dog Day Afternoon, has passed away at age 86. I’m going to date myself right now by saying the kind of statement that makes me shake my head when I hear it…”They don’t make movies like that anymore.” As I look back through the decades, esp. the 70’s, it seems that films and even TV dealt with social issues, with the condition of the peeps and the signs of the times. Remember the TV shows Chico and the Man and Sanford and Son, or MASH or Archie Bunker. Those shows dealt with racism, poverty and even the current oil dealeo. What do we have rigth now, #tigerblood and #adonisdna. Films, like the films of Lumet, was more than entertainment, it was thought provoking , but on a much larger scale.
Serpico was probably the first whistle blower film that I had ever seen. I was too young to see it in the theaters and, if memory severs correct, I believe I saw it on TV as a little Filipino-ninja kid when we lived on the top of the hill on 9th avenue, SF. If it were not for whistle blowers then we would never of had Watergate, or a reconstruction of the LA police force after Rodney King, or Micheal Bachnann’s BathroomGate (which is really funny sh*t). There is that Erin Brockovich lady, who very recently is on the bandwagon again; and who knows what true stories will come out of the Ivory Coast, Libya, or Japan (really, when this all gets better, hopefully soon, I can only imagine what kind of “truths” will come out of Japan.). I actually trust the government, but I do acknowledge that because of the hugeness of the government, one hand my not know what the other is doing-corruption. And let’s not forget patriot Bradly Manning being held in military prison, humiliated daily as he awaits trial. This is why it is important to watch the watchers, and even, if we are lucky, watch and report on those who watch (does that even make sense?).
The movie Serpico exposed corruption in the NY City Police Department and initiated positive change. That is what whistle blowers do when they are effective and at their best. What is the truth of last years BP oil spill in the gulf, the spill that did not effect the bonuses of the companies top CEO’s. What about that epic battle in South America of the Rainforest v. the Oil companies. Are we really to believe that the oil companies do clean up all their waste and that the habitat is not poisoned. I don’t.
I know Serpico is just a film,but at the same time it is not just a film. It is art and like I said the other day…art is what makes us human. Art is what differentiates us from the animals, and even the savages posing as humans. Film can inspire the viewer, it can fill their heart with the courage to be the next Erin Brockovic or the Serpico.
RIP Mr Lumet your work lives on in the prusuit of justice.
* My favorite part in Serpico is when they were having their morning meeting and there was some weed dealers that need to get busted. So the Sarg. passed around a joint, so the boys could familiarize themselves with the product, I guess so when they came across it in the street, they would know what it was…and they lit it up and smoked it. So awesome.